Jesse White honored by Orland Township Democrats at successful fundraiser
By Ray Hanania
A gathering of the Orland Township Democratic Organization (OTDO) on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, honored the 24-year service of former Secretary of State Jesse White.
White expressed his gratitude for the support he has received including from the more than 150 people who attended the event and from the Orland Township Democratic Organization Committeeperson Beth McElroy Kirkwood.
The fundraiser held at Papa Joe’s also featured an array of Democratic Party speakers including Congressman Sean Casten, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Orland Township Highway Commissioner Antonio Rubino, many Democratic committee persons, legislators, local officials, and an array of Democratic candidates who are running in the April 4, 2023 election.
“It’s an honor for me to be here,” White began acknowledging Kirkwood’s late parents Ed and Rita Marie McElroy who were active in Democratic politics and officials and candidates present in the audience.
“I have had the great pleasure of serving as State Representative for 16 years, as Cook County Recorder of Deeds for 6, and for 24 years running the largest secretary of state office in the nation with 4,000 employees and a $336 million budget … I decided to ride off into the sunset to continue to work with the Jesse White Tumbling Team as a way to helping young people grow tall and straight. I have had that program for exactly 65 years and I have had over 19,000 kids that had come through that program.”
White, who served with the 101st Airborne Division known as the “Screaming Eagles” in the U.S. Air Force and parachuting 35 times, said he was honored to be recognized by Kirkwood and the Orland Democrats saying he “owes a lot to this organization and the Democratic Party.”
Preckwinkle, who was introduced by Kirkwood and Rich Township Committeeman Calvin Jordan, praised Kirkwood and the Orland Township Democrats for their support.
“We can’t have a strong party without all of your support. Thank you on my behalf and thank you for all of the Democrats in our Party and all of you for coming out tonight,” Preckwinkle said.
Jordan praised the diversity of the Democratic party ensuring that everyone is represented in government and politics in the Southwest and South Suburbs.
“One thing we have to learn to do as Democrats, especially if you are going to be in leadership, you have to learn how to pull the wagon, too. You can have a leader, but if you don’t help, you are not going to get far, ” Jordan said.
“What I like about our Democratic leader, Beth McElroy Kirkwood, is she is all over and she has been a real part of the Southland. … We have been able to grow, all of us and we have all been able to stick together. The Township Committeemen are among the strongest around. … We have to help each other, that is how we are going to be stronger.”
Worth Township Committeewoman Patricia “Trish” Murphy praised Kirkwood as “the hardest person I know” and said that the Orland Township Democratic Organization is important to strengthening the movement to bring great qualified leadership to the Chicagoland area.
Kirkwood and Jordan also acknowledged Palos Township Committeeman Bob Maloney, Thornton Township Committeeman Napoleon Harris, and Bloom Township Committeeperson Monica Gordon.
Sponsors and supporters of the event included the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the Cook County College Teachers Union (CCCTU), attorney Burton S. Odelson, Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller, State Rep. Justin Slaughter, State Rep. Robert Rita, State Senator Michael Hastings, and Tracy Sullivan who is running for a seat on the Moraine Valley Community College Board.
“It is great to be here and honor Jesse White who I have known all my life and it is great to be a part of the Orland Township Democrats,” Miller said.
Also sponsoring the event was Palos Park Mayoral candidate Ronette McCarthy, whose father-in-law the late Joe McCarthy was a fixture in Suburban Democratic leadership and politics serving as Worth Township Supervisor. Other sponsors included Matthew G. Rafferty and William Bonnar Jr of the Orland First Responders, slate running for the Orland Fire Protection District. Also, candidates Ashley Rubino and Bernard O’Boyle, are running for Tinley Park’s Park Board of Commissioners.
Attendees represented or attending included:
Water Reclamation District Trustee Mariyana Spyropoulos. Mohammed Jaber, who is an uncontested candidate for Consolidated High School District 230 representing Sandburg, Andrew and Stagg High schools. Judge Michael Barrett, Judge Bernie Barrett, and Judge Cynthia Cobbs also attended. Kevin Daly, who is running for South Suburban College Trustee.
Former Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin, who is credited with building the village into the major municipality that it is today and directing nearly all of the major improvements Orland Park residents enjoy, attended, as did former Orland Park Trustee Dan Calandriello. And Orland First Protection District Trustee Craig Schmidt attended to show support. Palos Township Committeewoman and Clerk Jane Nolan. School District 135 Board President Linda Peckham Dodge. Former Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch, who is in Orland Park now, also attended. Also attending were Young Democrats President David Karpinski and Sheila Chalmers-Currin, President, Village of Matteson. Also attending was Samir Khalil president of the Arab American Democratic Club and Judge Jesse Reyes.
Kirkwood closed the program at Papa Joe’s Restaurant by reminding everyone that Early Voting begins March 20 for the April 4 election.
“We are continuing to grow our organization here and your support helps us get Democratic candidates elected and share our values and vision for the future. Orland Township currently has 74,000 registered voters and we have the highest early voting totals in all of suburban Cook County in the last elections. We need to keep building a network of volunteers, leaders and supporters who share our values.”
Kirkwood urged attendees to Vote Yes on the Orland Park referendum to keep the current village managerial form of government to prevent Mayor Pekau from grabbing more power.
The website for more information is VoteYesOrland.com
For more information on the Orland Township Democratic Organization visit:
To view a video of the fundraiser click: