Almost 400 Kane Democrats pack Q Center for Truman Dinner

Dems celebrate turning Kane County blue – but urge party unity in November

U.S. Rep. lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, speaks at the Kane County Democrats' Truman Dinner March 10, 2024 at the Q Center in St. Charles.

ST. CHARLES – Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza stood at the podium in front of almost 400 Democrats at the Q Center in St. Charles and declared that Kane County was officially blue.

Not as in sad blue, but blue as in no longer red or even purple.

Blue – as in Kane becoming a Democrat majority county instead of Republican.

“I represent the whole entire state,” Mendoza said, speaking at the Kane County Democrats annual Truman Dinner on March 10. “As I travel to central and southern Illinois, where it is not as popular to be a Democrat, I’m pointing to Kane County and the incredible work that you’ve done to turn this county blue.”

Mendoza said what has been done in Kane County can be done elsewhere, “to go from deep red to purple and then blue.”

“It would be nice to travel downstate and instead of going to a group that has, you know, 15 or 20 Democrats where it seems more like an AA meeting, ‘I am Susana and I’m a Democrat.’ ... And I have faith and confidence that when we sell the message of what Democrats have done for Illinois, we will get our party back everywhere in the state of Illinois,” Mendoza said.

State Senate President Don Harmon credited Kane County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Guethele with “turning Kane County into a Democratic stronghold.”

With the March 19 primary looming, Harmon said he hated primary elections.

“I hate primaries and I can’t wait for this one to be over. ... It’s the worst. It’s friends fighting against friends,” Harmon said. “And when we’re not friends, at least we have a common reality. We agree that working families should be able to put food on the table and the rules should be fair for the little guy. That reproductive health care should be available. And most of all that democracy is important.”

Harmon said that the day after the primary the party should focus on winning in November.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, said the 118th Congress “is unlike anything else I have ever experienced.”

“Thanks to their dysfunction, we see three Speakers [of the House] so far. And the chaos they have caused in the process means we are unable to do the important work of serving our constituents,” Underwood said. “We are in dark times in our country. We have an extreme Republican Party that appeals to the worst in us.”

Underwood said she and her team still managed to pass legislation such as securing health care services for veterans, protecting migrant children at the border and retaining jobs in the 14th District.

“I constantly ask myself, ‘Is someone’s life better because of the work we did today?’ ” Underwood said. “A yes for the everyday person whose power comes from voting and not from money and not from influence.”

Underwood praised President Joe Biden’s leadership for increasing jobs, working to replace lead pipes and passing the first major gun violence law in almost 30 years.

Richard Chew, a radio talk show host on WCPT-AM, Chicago Progressive Talk, urged the room to use its collective energy to “push and pull in the same direction at the same time.”

“We have to do that right now,” Chew said. “The GOP is not the Grand Old Party any longer. I want us all to embrace the fact that as Democrats we have to make sure we are protecting [our] home turf. You know what that is, right? Home turf is the White House. We have to protect the White House.”