(AURORA) Fox Valley area Democrats had the state’s two chief leaders meet with them during the annual Harry S. Truman Dinner on Sunday.
Kane County Democrat Party Chairman Mark Guethle said he invited Gov. Pat Quinn as the keynote speaker and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin as a “special honored guest.”
“It is the first time Gov. Quinn has attended the dinner since being elected governor and it is the first time since I’ve been chairman that Senator Durbin has come,” Guethle said.
Guethle said the party is moving forward after a victorious November election. “We are on a roll,” Guethle said.
Around 200 Democrats joined the party’s leaders at Pipers Banquets in Aurora for the annual fundraiser supporting candidates facing challengers on April 9.
While they began their first course, Durbin said “You know what happened on Friday. The Republicans pushed through the sequestration,” he said to boos from the audience.
“They like to say the Democrats did it,” he said.
Durbin said on Thursday Democrats presented a bill that would have closed two tax loopholes, apply savings in other areas and avoid sequestration.
He said the “so-called Warren Buffet rule,” named after the “second wealthiest man in America with a conscience,” was put forward. Buffet has publicly stated that he pays a lower income tax rate than his secretary.
“One out of five millionaires are paying lower income tax rates than their secretaries and janitors in their buildings. We said the wealthy has to pay at least the same,” Durbin said to applause.
Durbin said the tax code is loaded with “incentives” for American companies to move jobs overseas. “You don’t need a PhD in economics to figure this one out,” the senior Illinois senator said.
Durbin said Republicans rejected both and imposed a filibuster in the Senate.
“Rather than close the two loopholes, they started the sequestration. It means we are going to lose 750,000 jobs,” he said, adding funding for medical research to find cures for diabetes, cancer and HIV will be cut.
“Republicans have said no one will notice. I am going to notice,” Durbin said.
But Durbin said President Obama is determined to fight. “It can make a difference, and Kane County people can tell you why,” Durbin said, referring to last November’s election of Congressmen Bill Foster and Tammy Duckworth.
Durbin closed by saying: “I have a warm place in my heart for Kane County,” Durbin said. “We originally were a few — look at us now,” he said to a standing ovation.
Gov. Pat Quinn started with a standing ovation. Quinn said Kane County Democrats are known to “work hard and organize” and he personally identified the local elected officials in the room.
He remembered the unions a couple of times. “We have some tough issues ahead of us,” Quinn said. “We completed 15-months of negotiations and reached a tentative agreement with unions that we hope will be approved. It is important we honor all those who work and those who work for the public’s interest,” he said.
“The Democrat Party belongs to everyday people who walk the precincts. You have shown us all around Illinois how to do it,” the governor said.
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