Harry S. Truman Awards Dinner at the QCenter

On Sunday, March 10, 2024, Kane County Democrats gathered at the Q Center in St. Charles for their annual fundraiser and to honor two Democrats who have worked nonstop to help fellow Democrats get elected, Dan Barreiro, Winner of the Truman Award, and Sue Sanders, Winner of the Chairman’s Award for Volunteer Excellence.

Mark Guethle, Chairman of Kane County Democrats, began the meeting by summarizing some of the accomplishments that President Biden mentioned in his State of the Union speech. These include the creation of 15 million jobs across all sectors in three years, the bipartisan infrastructure law, the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years (3.9%), and lower prescription drug costs for seniors, such as $35 for insulin and capping drug costs at $2,000 a year. On the Republican side, Trump wants to repeal many of these accomplishments, including the Inflation Reduction Act.

Mark continued by introducing each speaker, beginning with Congressman Bill Foster, Representative for the 11th District. Congressman Foster discussed the momentum that Democrats have picked up since the State of the Union speech. He stated that we must emphasize our party’s record and get the word out. Democrats need to win both chambers of Congress to pass essential laws such as the immigration bill approved by the Senate. Lauren Underwood, Representative for the 14th District, was the next speaker. She supported Bill’s message about the dysfunction and extremism of some Republican members in the House of Representatives. The extremist views are a threat to democracy. The Democrats have increased benefits for veterans and are working to replace all lead pipes in the U.S. so children are safe.

Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza followed Lauren. She has worked hard the last four years to pay down the state’s debts, which has led to Illinois receiving nine credit upgrades and lower interest rates on the state’s debts. She overhauled accounts payable so that vendors get paid in two weeks instead of waiting 10 months to get paid. With these changes, organized labor has been able to negotiate state contracts, and Susana has freed up bond funds to pay state social service providers and schools.

Richard Chew, host of the WCPT 820 Morning Show, Chew’s News, was the keynote speaker. Mr. Chew emphasized that the mission of Democrats this year is to make sure that President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are re-elected. The most dangerous national security threat to democracy is Donald Trump. If Democrats can hold the Senate and flip the House, we can pass important legislation such as the immigration bill, fair wages throughout the country, women’s rights, and justice for all. He said it is important to know what the Republicans are saying and doing so we can counteract their message with the truth. When we work together, we are more powerful than we realize. He concluded that the message of the Democrats is to uplift and help each other, including all classes and ethnic groups, so that we have a better country. We need to get that message out and make sure that all Democrats vote.

The program concluded with the presentation of the Chairman’s Award and the Truman Award. The winners of these awards, Sue Sanders and Dan Barreiro, are examples of what the Democratic Party symbolizes, working hard to make sure that all Americans have the freedom to vote and the opportunity to work hard and achieve success.

Sue Sanders has been involved in politics for over 30 years and mentioned that she could not have accomplished anything without her “sister resister” friends who have worked alongside her. Sue has worked with the St. Charles Democrats and other groups such as We Can Lead Change, which organized women’s marches in 2019 and 2020, and is responsible for “Mask Up Kane County,” which made masks for first responders during the pandemic. Their “Unity in the Community Campaign” raised over $20,000 worth of items for Kane County’s women’s shelters and homeless shelters. Sue worked on Lauren Underwood’s and Sean Casten’s first two runs for Congress and is currently working on two campaigns. She emphasized that one person can make a difference, but together we can dream, organize, educate, and win.

Dan Barreiro said he began volunteering when he was 20 years old and attending Northern Illinois University. After college, he became involved with the Aurora Democrats and has served several terms as a PCP, in addition to being on the Aurora Democratic Central Committee and currently serving his third term as the V.P. of the East Aurora School District 131 Board of Education. Dan worked for the city of Aurora for 35 years and served under four mayors in positions of leadership such as Assistant Director of Human Resources, Assistant Finance Director for Budgeting, Assistant Chief of Staff to Mayor Weisner, and Chief Community Services Officer. Dan said his life has been enriched by the campaign experiences he has had over the years and friendships with people he might never have met, such as William Perry, the Secretary of Defense under President Clinton. One of Dan’s memorable experiences was going to Atlanta at the end of 2020 with a group of people to campaign for and help Raphael Warnock win the senatorial seat in Georgia. That victory was crucial to Democrats having a majority in the Senate at the present time.

Mark Guethle, Chair of Kane County Democrats, concluded the meeting by thanking the Truman Dinner Committee members and the Silent Auction Committee members. Over 400 Democrats attended the dinner.

2024 KCDW Members
2024 Kane County Democratic Women Members at Harry S. Truman Awards Dinner