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Left Justified: A good congresswoman

July 14, 2010

By Stanley Campbell

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-9) will speak at Rockford Urban Ministries’ (RUM) 48th annual dinner this Sunday, July 18. The dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. and costs $30 (it’s a fund-raiser), and Jan will speak at 7 p.m.

When I was hired in 1985, RUM’s first office was on East State Street, shared with Illinois Public Action. Schakowsky led training sessions, and I would poke my head in and gain much information. She is an amazing leader. Please help me welcome Jan back to Rockford.

Grace United Methodist Church, 3555 MacFarland Road, Rockford, will host the affair, with the United Methodist Men & Women serving. Dinner is $30 (or $45 for “angels” who donate more) and is open to everyone (we’d like reservations, so call me ASAP at (815) 964-7111). The program begins at 7 p.m., it is free and also open to the public.

Schakowsky taught me almost everything I know about political action. I’ve been the director of RUM for the last 25 years, and first met Ms. Schakowsky when she was director of Public Action. She came to Rockford in 1985, just after I was hired. Our two organizations shared an office in the 300 block of East State Street. She was elected to represent Illinois’ 9th Congressional District in 1998 after serving eight years in the Illinois State Assembly. She is in her sixth term. I hope you can join us for a most significant evening!

Schakowsky serves in the House Democratic leadership as chief deputy whip and as a member of the Steering and Policy Committee. She is a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, where she will work to accomplish her top priority in Congress—providing universal health care coverage for all Americans. On that committee, she serves as vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection and as a member of the Subcommittee on Health and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

Schakowsky also serves on the House Select Committee on Intelligence. On that committee, Schakowsky serves as the chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Schakowsky opposed the Iraq War Resolution and was a founding member of the Out-of-Iraq Caucus.

Schakowsky is a leading advocate for women’s issues in Congress, sponsoring legislation that would prevent violence against immigrant women, establish transitional housing for women and children who are victims of abuse, and commemorate International Women’s Day. During the 111th Congress, Schakowsky serves as Democratic co-chairman of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues.

RUM, for which I work, is the social justice outreach of 25 area congregations. Projects include programming, opening JustGoods Fair Trade Store at 201 Seventh St.; placing a wind generator on the roof; and Rockford Work Camps (RWC). RWC invites church volunteers to help low-income families repair their homes. This summer, 20 church groups are working on 23 homes. Please send in your reservation today (or make a donation).

Donations can be sent to “RUM Dinner, 301 Dawn Ave., Rockford, IL 61107” (use the enclosed return envelope). Vegetarian dinners are available. Call me to reserve a dinner, though.

Thank you for helping celebrate my 25 years with RUM, looking forward to more!

Yours in God’s love, especially for the city!

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

From the July 14-20, 2010 issue

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