Grassroots activists say many voters have been left out of Illinois Democratic Party decisions

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Illinois Democratic Party leaders are expected to select who will succeed Michael Madigan as the state party chairman on Wednesday. But there are complaints grassroots voters have been left out of the process.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly and Chicago Alderwoman Michelle Harris are vying for the Democratic chairmanship. Reports indicate Harris is leading among party leaders public with their support. It’s a weighted vote, based on how many people voted Democratic in their districts in the last election.

But, Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth co-founder of the grassroots group Indivisible Illinois, said a vital component is missing – the voice of voters.

"It’s a repeat of what we have seen time and time again, which is that our Democratic Party is not upholding any kind of public forum or opportunities for us to engage in this process," she said.

She said grassroots voters have not had a say, just like the recent cases of replacing State Representative Michael Madigan or State Senator Heather Steans. Manaa-Hoppenworth said most of the deals were done in back rooms.

She’s calling for more transparency, even if it’s a political job, the people doing the selecting were elected themselves.

"Especially right now in the middle of this pandemic, people are really hurting and the social safety net is being cut all over the place. Right now is when we need more voices that are representing us," Manaa-Hoppenworth said.

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March 2, 2021 at 05:43PM

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