Speaker Madigan, Clerk candidate Yarbrough to keynote Arab American Forum

Speaker Madigan, Clerk candidate Yarbrough to keynote Arab American Forum

Speaker Madigan, Clerk candidate Yarbrough to keynote Arab American Forum

The Arab American Democratic Club (AADC) announced this week that Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and Karen Yarbrough, the current Cook County Recorder of Deeds and now the official Democratic candidate for Cook County Clerk, will be keynote speakers at the annual Candidate’s Brunch & Forum on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018.

Longtime Arab American political activists Jim Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute based in Washington D.C., is also a scheduled featured speaker for the event.

The Candidate Brunch & Forum, held at Niko’s Banquets at 7600 S. Harlem Avenue in Bridgeview from 10 am until 1 pm, will feature all of the Democrats running for county, municipal and legislative offices.

Yarbrough, one of the rising new voices of public service in Illinois will succeed retiring Cook County Clerk David Orr and oversee one of the most important county offices in Northern Illinois. She is a candidate in the Nov. 6, 2018 election and is a certainty to win the post as the new Cook County Clerk.

Arab American Institute President Jim Zogby addresses the Arab American Democratic Club brunch March 19, 2017. Photo courtesy of Steve Neuhaus

Arab American Institute President Jim Zogby addresses the Arab American Democratic Club brunch March 19, 2017. Photo courtesy of Steve Neuhaus

Madigan is the longest serving legislative official in the United States, and also holds the office of State Representative for the 22nd Illinois House District representing the Southwest Side and suburbs of Chicago, is the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Organization, and Democratic Committeeman of Chicago’s 13th Ward.

“We are honored to have all of these leaders and activists address our Arab American community at our annual brunch and forum,” said AADC Executive Director Samir Khalil.

“We have invited all of the Democratic candidates. Invitations have been delivered to J.B. Pritzker, the Democratic candidate for Governor, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, all of our regional legislators on the state and Federal level including Congressmen Dan Lipinski, Bill Foster, Danny K. Davis, Robin Kelly, Raja Krisnamoorthi, Jan Schakowsky and Bobby Rush. And, we have invited all of the mayors of local municipalities, villages, and towns who are non-partisan but who also support our Arab American community.”

Khalil said the AADC, which was founded in the 1980s, is the largest and most active Arab American Democratic organization in the State of Illinois and is open to all Democrats.

ADC National President, Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, and Hollywood actor Sayed Badreya at a dinner honoring Ziyad Brothers Importing in May 2011

ADC National President Safa Rifka, Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, and Hollywood actor Sayed Badreya at a dinner honoring Ziyad Brothers Importing in May 2011

“The primary election contests are over and now we come together as one voice to support the election of progressive and community-focused Democrats to defend our rights, advocate for support of our schools, work towards improving the economy and creating jobs, and embracing diversity,” said AADC Board member Miriam Zayed.

The event will also feature appearances by Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in the 4th Congressional District. All of the state’s candidates including Comptroller Susana Mendoza, Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs retiring Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and her Democratic successor Kwame Raoul, and Secretary of State Jesse White have been invited to attend.

Additionally, all of the Cook County elected officials and candidates including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, who received the largest votes of any candidate in Cook County in the last primary, and Abdelnasser Rashid, a candidate running for the Cook County board, will also be feted.

Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough, is the Democratic nominee for the office of Cook County Clerk.

Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough, is the Democratic nominee for the office of Cook County Clerk.

Many municipal mayors will also be in attendance including Village of Lyons President Christopher Getty and Village of Bridgeview President Steven Landek, also the state senator representing the 12th senate district. Khalil said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and candidates running in the municipal elections in the Spring of 2019 have also been invited to attend.

“We are not asking candidates and elected officials to focus their attention on the Middle East and international politics. What we are asking is that they recognize the importance of Illinois’ Arab American community and make us a part of the process,” Khalil said.

“We are active duty service members, military veterans who served honorably in past wars to defend America, successful businessmen and women, Christian and Muslim Arabs who pay our taxes, abide by the laws and expect that government will speak to our needs and concerns.”

Khalil said that government has a responsibility to ensure that Arab Americans are given a role in government and that government resources address our needs, and most importantly that qualified Arab Americans be considered for positions at all levels of government.

AADC consists of a board of directors that includes Miriam Zayed, Saad Malley, Khalil Khalil, Rima Sweiss, Sonia Khalil, Ahmad Ramahi, and Sufyan Shaltaf.

Tickets for the Brunch & Forum are $40 per person. Candidates and elected officials who wish to present themselves to the Arab American community and voters can also purchase advertising in the AADC Ad Book. More than 2,000 copies will be printed and distributed.

For more information and to purchase tickets or advertising visit www.AADCIL.com.

AADC Brunch & Forum
Niko’s Restaurant, 7600 S. Harlem Avenue, Bridgeview, Il
Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018

Doors open at 9:30 am. Main Program with keynote speakers will begin at 11 am. Other Candidates and officeholders will be invited to make short remarks throughout the breakfast forum event.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award-winning columnist, author & former Chicago City Hall reporter (1977-1992). A veteran who served during the Vietnam War and the recipient of four SPJ Peter Lisagor Awards for column writing, Hanania writes weekly opinion columns on mainstream American & Chicagoland topics for the Southwest News-Herald, Des Plaines Valley News, the Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, and Suburban Chicagoland.  

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