Urges them to come out in huge numbers on Tuesday
By Chinta Strausberg
U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-1st) spent the weekend rallying Democrats including his constituents to come out in record numbers on Tuesday not just to send him back to Washington but also to show Illinois they are an historic and political force to be reckoned with and a powerhouse other Democrats must ultimately meet along the road to victory.
The long anticipated Election Day is less than 24-hours away. Election Day is tomorrow, Tuesday, March 20, 2012, a day when temperatures are expected to be an unprecedented 82 degrees and a time when voters will once again flex their political muscle.
Last month, Chicago Board of Elections Chairman Langdon Neal announced that 1.28 million people were registered to vote in Chicago, which he says is the lowest number of registered voters since 1944. Turnout is key to victory.
With a history of service, a commitment to progress, and a track record of legislative success, Rep. Rush met with Eighth Ward Democratic leaders Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), Rep. Marlow Colvin (D-33rd) at the 8th Ward Regular Democratic Organization’s office, 8539 South Cottage Grove, where he was enthusiastically welcomed by scores of energetic precinct captains.Â He alsoÂ spoke at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Hall at 600 W. Washington, whereÂ he urged everyone to exercise their right to vote come Tuesday.
At the 8th ward headquarters in introducing Rush, Ald. Harris said, he takes care of his constituents.Â â€œHeâ€™s involved in the process. Heâ€™s involved with the community. Heâ€™s involved in the Eighth Ward in bringing dollars backâ€¦..Â I can tell you that Congressman Bobby Rush has brought the dollars home. This is the name that we are pushingâ€¦.â€
After an extended applause, Rush looked out over the early morning standing-room only crowd said, â€œThis is a phenomenon that you donâ€™t see in the black community much anymore. Good ward organizations, precinct captains the weekend before the election is almost something that none of us have in the African American community anymore and itâ€™s part of our problem in terms of why we are not realizing our potential in the body politics of the city, state and the nation,â€ he said.
Calling Harris, who is also the ward committeeman, a â€œwonderful, outstanding, overwhelming, and most excellentÂ alderman in the city of Chicago,â€ Rush praised the 8th Ward Organization calling it â€œan historic organization.â€
While he grew up in the Second Ward where he was once the alderman and the ward committeeman, Rush said, â€œI was always proud of the legacy in the 8thÂ Ward Democratic organization.â€
Rush spoke of the late Congressman Ralph Metcalfe,Â once the ward committeeman of the 3rd Ward andÂ a product ofÂ the late Congressman William Dawsonâ€™s organization and howÂ a precinct captain came to the 3rd Ward named John Stroger â€œand he learned at Metcalfeâ€™s and Dawsonâ€™s knees and what he learned as a precinct captain in the 3rd Ward, when it became his turn to become a committeeman in the 8th Ward, he carried that knowledge and understanding into the 8th Ward.
â€œHe built this organization and made it the best ward organization within the city of Chicago,â€ Rush saidÂ “If you look at the record, the 8th Ward was always up there either number one or two in turns of turnout, in terms of vote, in terms of who they elected.
â€œThe 8th WardÂ set the pace out here for many years, and itâ€™s still setting the pace,â€ said Rush who gave them a history lesson in Chicago politics. â€œYou ought to know where youâ€™re at. You ought to know how God has prepared you and blessed you where youâ€™re at. If you donâ€™t know where youâ€™re going, you donâ€™t know where youâ€™re arrivingâ€¦.
â€œThis organization is one of strongest organizations in the city of Chicago.Â Rush said no candidate seeking election could win if they donâ€™t carry this ward overwhelmingly. â€œThatâ€™s the key,â€ he told the precinct captains.â€ â€œYou have long legacy, a long history, and youâ€™ve been fortunate to have some outstanding, consistent political leadership down the line and this ward is one of the best wards in the country, one of the highest voting wards in the country, one of the best producing wards in the country.â€
Rush, who said Ald. Harrisâ€™ friendship means a great deal to him, reminded them of how he brought back a millionÂ dollars to help build a new addition to the Jackson Park Hospital, and earmarkedÂ $200,000 for the 8th Ward-based South Central Community Services organization, along with the millions that have come to the ward via the 2009 federal stimulus package. Rush also spoke of his plans for restoring the Metra Station at 95th and Cottage Grove Avenue.
He told the precinct captains that the people of the ward need them especially their leadership. â€œThe question is whether you can deliver,â€ Rush said referring to the low voter turnout predicted by the Chicago Board of Election. â€œThey are going to judge you not in November but in March as to how tough you are and how many voters you can deliver. Take this weekend and make it work for you and for your community. We are all counting on you.â€
Referring to President Barack Obama, Rush urged them to tell voters to vote for the President. â€œNot withstanding what they are saying,Â he is the best president that we got,â€ he told a cheering crowd. â€œIf he gets four more years, he will be the best president that weâ€™ve ever hadâ€¦.. As soon as they go into the poll, look for Obamaâ€™sÂ name, then mosey on down and punch 11â€ to return Rush to congress. â€œDonâ€™t stop with Obama nowâ€¦,â€ he said. â€œMake sure they vote for Bobby Rush.
â€œThere are two things Iâ€™ve always said I didnâ€™t want to do in office, one is that never wanted to embarrass my constituents, and I wanted to deliver to my constituents.â€ Rush said he has kept both commitments and want to continue.
Harris said, â€œIn our community, everybody loves Congressman Rush; so heâ€™s an easy sellâ€¦. Heâ€™s working hard for the community.â€ Harris told her precinct captains â€œwe need to deliver big numbers.â€Â
She addedÂ â€œthe people have a lot of confidence in this organization and that we are going to do the right thing.”
Before Rush left, he recognized Gwen Duncan-Alexander who was the assistant to the late John Stroger. He also recognized Rep. Colvin and thanked him for his leadership in Springfield. Â â€œHeâ€™s mature. Heâ€™s articulate. He is one of the best-elected officials. I know he is qualified and capable and he has demonstrated a record of accomplishmentsâ€¦.â€
Colvin said the good weather â€œgives us no excuses for touching as many voters between now and election day as possible.â€ He said what Obama needs is a big vote. â€œHe needs your momentum to send a strong signal that he is going to be in a very difficult race and the votes we give him today will probably change the way they strategize against him.â€
Colvin said if voters come out and vote for Obama, they will vote for others the 8thÂ Ward is pushing. Colvin too called for a huge voter turnout. He praised Rush for surviving 19-years as a member of Congress which greatly â€œspeaks to his character.â€
â€œOne thing that John Stroger always talked about was how character always counts. You canâ€™t ignore it. Weâ€™re under constant scrutiny and the only thing you have to do is to keep your nose cleanâ€¦.â€
Colvin said of the 8th Ward, â€œWeâ€™ve had some difficult times here. Weâ€™ve had some great times here but through it all weâ€™ve had you and that is why weâ€™re still hereâ€¦. This is a small and dinky place, but the power that emanates from here is enormous.â€ He praised Harris for becoming the President Pro Tem of the City Council. â€œThat speaks of who we areâ€¦.â€
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.