While Roland Burris and Rod Blagojevich have been garnering most of the airtime and drama on the Chicago political scene, local eyes have been on the vacated seat of Rahm Emanuel. It has been a horse race...with 23 horses.
It is down to the wire for the special primary being held on Tuesday, March 2nd, for the Fifth Congressional District on the north side of Chicago -- traditionally a Democratic stronghold. The field holds twelve Democrats, six Republicans, and five members of the Green Party. The general consensus is that the Democratic victor will go on to win the April 7th special general election.
Emily's List jumped in early to support Democratic State Representative Sara Feigenholtz, who has
focused her message on the goal of fixing the health care crisis. Feigenholtz has spoken repeatedly about her mother, who emigrated from Poland and put herself through medical school. From her mother she learned that "health care is a right, not a privilege." Feigenholtz wedded her concern about health care to women's issues, when she committed to fighting for mandatory coverage of mammograms by insurance companies - for all women aged 40 and older.
Support for Feigenholtz is not limited only to the healthcare realm. She has racked up endorsements from the United Auto Workers, the United Steelworkers (District 7), the University Professionals of Illinois (Local 4100), and the American Federation of Teachers. On February 22nd, the campaign hit it big with a nod from Illinois State Comptroller Dan Hynes, who has been outspoken on the subject of government ethics and reform.
Using the Obama model of building a strong grassroots base, Feigenholtz has tapped into the social media playbook with a profile on Facebook and updates on Twitter.
Having co-sponsored the "FamilyCare" bill with Barack Obama, when he was an Illinois State Senator, she is in the unique position to go Washington as an impact player on health, children's issues, and recouping ground lost during the Bush Administration.
All she has to do is survive the blood sport known as "Chicago politics."