CAIR-Chicago’s Governmental Relations Coordinator Sadiya Ahmed attended a Democrats’ Candidate Forum on Sunday, January 8, 2006 at the Islamic Community Center of Des Plaines (ICCD). Forrest Claypool, running for Cook County Board President, Alexi Giannoulias running for State Treasurer, and Frank Avila running for Commissioner for the Chicago Water Reclamation Department addressed leadership in the Muslim community as well as local constituents. The forum, one of few scheduled, is to provide candidates the opportunity to have an open dialogue with the Muslim community about their positions on issues pertinent to the community.
Forrest Claypool, the Democratic Party’s candidate running for Cook County Board President delivered the first statement to an audience of fifty. His platform includes: cleaning up the forest preserves in Cook County and an expansion on current healthcare policy to establish a better doctor-patient relationship for uninsured and working families. He also wants to institutionalize methods that provide alternatives and offer safer options for minors in the juvenile reform system. In addition Claypool, if elected, expressed his interest in establishing a Muslim advisory taskforce which he would consult before making major decisions.
Alexi Giannolias, Democratic hopeful for Illinois State Treasurer, shared with the audience his background in banking. Giannolias, as part of his experience, has worked closely with his family, owners of the Broadway Bank in Chicago, to establish a more family oriented approach in banking. If elected, he intends to keep the link-deposit program, initiated by Pat Quinn, now the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. He also stated that his background in banking would be invaluable in handling the roughly $12 billion that the Treasurer’s office handles annually.
Finally, a representative for Fank Avila, who was unable to attend the event due to a scheduling conflict, addressed the crowd. Avila is one of the Democratic candidates running for the Commissioner for the Chicago Water Reclamation Department. Avila’s father, who spoke on his behalf, told the audience that there are 2,000 individuals employed by the Chicago Water Reclamation Department, of which 1,000 are tradesmen and 1,000 engineers. The department is also the fourth largest agency in Cook County, as well as the state. Avila stressed the importance of the department, as it employs a large number of Muslims.
Present at the meeting were: hosts Salman Aftab (ANN) and Br. Farooqui (President ICCD), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), American Muslim Alliance (AMA), Muslim Civil Rights Center (MCRC), East West University, Sheikh Hasan El-Khateeb, Sheikh Fisal Hamouda, Judge Bill Haddad, Br. Naim Mansour, Imam Qasim Khan and many others.
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