Friday, May 13: Save that date for the
53rd Annual Eugene V. Debs - Norman Thomas - Michael Harrington
Dinner. As always, we are at a union hotel. The Dinner will be
held at the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro hotel at Madison and Halsted
in Chicago, beginning with a cash bar at 6 PM. The Dinner is
at 7 PM.
The Dinner this year is In Praise
of Public Service. We have as our honorees John Cameron,
the Director of Political and Community Relations for AFSCME
Council 31, and Jeremy Schroeder, the Executive Director of the
Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Both of these
honorees represent victories at a time when victories are badly
Over the last 32 years, John Cameron
has worked on a wide range of public policy initiatives at the
local, state and federal levels. Recent victories include the
state income tax increase and national health insurance reform,
restoring county public health services, enacting protections
against privatization, and defending pension and retiree health
benefits. Cameron has been involved in electoral politics beginning
with Miriam Balanoff's election to the state legislature in 1978
and Harold Washington's first mayoral campaign. He has also worked
for Lane Evans, Paul Simon, Jan Schakowsky, Joe Moore, and Barack
Obama. John Cameron is on the boards of Citizen Action/Illinois,
USAction, and the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. He
also serves as the Illinois Federation of Labor's 9th District
The death penalty has been abolished
in Illinois. In this victory, Jeremy Schroeder's leadership
played a major role. Prior to campaigning against the death penalty,
Jeremy Schroeder was the legislative director for SEIU in Illinois,
handling their legislative and policy campaigns. He also worked
on numerous Chicago aldermanic campaigns, campaigns for state
office, and Barack Obama's presidential campaign. During his
tenure with the union, he was able to pass legislation for first-time
ever health care and for increased wages for the union's members.
Schroeder has also served as the volunteer legislative coordinator
for Amnesty International in Illinois.
Our featured speaker is Ralph Martire,
the Executive Director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.
The Center is an organization that, with unimpeachable nonpartisanship,
has spoken fiscal sanity to all those Republicans and Democrats
who have attempted resolving Illinois' (and Cook County's and
Chicago's) fiscal crisis with hand waving, hand wringing, and
crocodile smiles. Martire is a most eloquent and passionate cassandra.
This has made him the go-to person for journalists seeking comments
that clearly and cogently define the issue at hand. You will
find him to be a speaker who is both lively and informative.
The fight in Wisconsin especially but
also in Indiana and Ohio over collective bargaining rights are
heroic and inspiring. They are also completely defensive, and
we gain nothing in victory. Unless we come out of these
fights as mad as hornets and ready to swarm. If the "cheddar
revolution" is to succeed, it will take more than just a
few months. Your participation in this Dinner and other events
like it will be crucial to what happens next. Please plan on
attending. A flyer with additional information
If you cannot attend (or even if you
can), please consider getting an ad in the Dinner
program book. It can be relatively inexpensive: a greeting
is only $25. A full page ad is $600 and there are other options.
A flyer with additional information is
If you have any questions, please email,
call, or write. More information about the history of the Dinner
is at the URL above.
Robert M. Roman
for the Dinner Committee