Vernon Democrats Endorse Schneider
Candidates tell Vernon Township group how they will attract independent voters.
Deerfield management consultant Brad Schneider won the endorsement of the Vernon Township Democratic Organization Sunday in Vernon Hills among the four contenders for their party’s nomination in the March 20 primary.
Schneider, Waukegan community organizer Ilya Sheyman, Mundelein attorney Vivek Bavda and Long Grove business owner John Tree made their case to more than 80 people why they were best suited to challenge Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) in the Nov. 6 general election.
After listening to each candidate make an opening statement and answer six questions submitted anonymously from the audience on index cards, 33 organization members voted their preference for Schneider, 27 for Sheyman and one each for Bavda and Tree, according to one of the ballot counters.
The group also endorsed West Deerfield Township Supervisor Julie Morrison over Lake Bluff business consultant Milton Sumption in the campaign to succeed retiring state Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest).
Having the same or similar views on a number of issues like a woman’s right to choose, Social Security, Medicare and campaign financing, one question that let the candidates set themselves apart was electability.
Sheyman told the group his consistency would attract voters from across the spectrum. He told the story he met of a person in Vermont who supported “avowed socialist” Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and former President George W. Bush.
“He said ‘I know exactly where they stand,’” Sheyman said. “People will know exactly where I stand. They’ll know what I’m going to do.”
When it was Schneider’s turn he explained the newly configured map of the district passed by the Illinois General Assembly in May was 34 percent Democrat, 26 percent Republican and 40 percent independent.
“(President) Barack Obama won this district 61-45. We need to keep these people home,” Schneider said. He thinks his life experiences will help do that. He believes people affected by the issues of the day can identify with his story.
“We’ve brought two kids through the schools here. When I graduated college I couldn’t find a job and had to work on a Kibbutz in Israel for a year,” Schneider said. “The Sears Catalogue was closed six months before our oldest son was born,” he added referring to a job he lost at because the company closed his division at a critical time in his life.
Tree said his experience in both the military—he is a colonel in the Air Force reserve—and business world will have broad appeal. “Democrats and even some Republicans will like my life story,” he said.
When it comes to attracting independents necessary to put either a Democrat or Republican over the top, Bavda thinks his ideas will win the day. “I have a vision,” he said stressing his focus on jobs and education. “I will create a vision that will affect people’s lives every day.”
One question recognized Dold’s recent decision to break with the Republican majority over a transportation bill. The inquisitor wanted to know how the four Democrats will deal with Dold’s own efforts at independence.
Tree dismissed Dold’s recent position citing the number of times he has voted with the Republican majority. “Now we can make him own his votes,” he said.
Sheyman and Schneider gave Dold credit for opposing the legislation because it lacked sufficient mass transit components. Sheyman indicated he would do the same thing if it was the best thing for the people of the area.