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My Supporters - a personal note from Mark Pera

For immediate release
Monday, February 4, 2008
Media contact: Patrick Corcoran (708) 579-2834

Dear Friends -

We received a tremendous response again this morning from voters across the district. Our volunteers and I, as we have been for many weeks, were out early greeting commuters at Metra train stops as they headed into the city. I can't tell you how many people said, "You have my vote," or, better yet, "I early voted for you!"

I have a great feeling about tomorrow.

While we were working this weekend to get out the vote on Tuesday by running phonebanks and canvassing door to door, Dan Lipinski was trying desperately to make up for lost time by taking cheap shots at our campaign and our supporters, volunteers and staff.

To me, it's shocking that a sitting Democratic Congressman would attack the people - including hundreds of constituents - who have sacrificed to support us.

My campaign is focused on the issues that are important to mainstream Democrats: the war in Iraq, the economy, energy and the environment, choice, embryonic stem cell research, immigration and ethics and corruption and good government. Lipinski's failure to provide true Democratic leadership - and his propensity for voting with Republicans - on these issues is at the very center of our campaign for change in Congress.

Rather than respond to my opponent's attack line by line, I want to take this opportunity to tell you my thoughts about the people who are supporting my campaign.

Sandra Verthein is an organizer with Northside Democracy for America (DFA). Many months ago, I met with DFA and told them about my vision for this district. I told them that this campaign against a sitting incumbent was going to be a tough slog. DFA endorsed my candidacy and asked how they could help. We assigned them to Chicago's 11th Ward - the home of the Daley family and my Chicago White Sox. Through the entire winter, the snow and near-zero temperatures, Sandra and her fellow volunteers walked the ward, street by street, and knocked on over 4,000 doors.

Ahlam Jbara is a Bridgeview resident, a parent of two young children and an Arab-American. She is the field director in our Palos Hills office and is in charge of our outreach effort in the Arab and Muslim American community that is such an important part of our district. Last week, Ahlam and some 75 volunteers sent out nearly 5,000 hand-addressed letters to voters throughout the district.

Howard Handler is the chairman of the Jewish Political Alliance of Illinois, which was an early endorser of our campaign. He has been a tremendous supporter and he's helping coordinate our Election Day plan.

Peggy Peterson is a volunteer for my campaign. She serves on a local school board. On Sunday afternoon, she brought her teenage daughter into the office to show her a little bit about campaign work. At 6:15 a.m. this morning, she was at the La Grange/Stone Metra Train Station passing out our literature to commuters.

Trevor Montgomery is a member of our campaign staff, an Iraq war veteran and an active member of the Illinois Air National Guard Reserve. He's been my right-hand man at churches every weekend and he's been with me every morning for many weeks at train stations from Berwyn to Beverly.

Betty Gutierrez has been a member of St. Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church for more than 25 years. She is a resident of the district, a mother and a grandmother. Before she retired, she fought predatory lenders and assisted first time homebuyers as the deputy director of the Greater Southwest Development Corp. Betty spends four nights of the week in our Chicago campaign office, calling voters to tell them why they should consider voting for Mark.

Dave Atwood has worked for months on our behalf in his home ward - the 19th Ward - through rain and snow. We've walked precincts together and he's come out morning after morning to meet me at train stations in the beautiful Beverly and Mount Greenwood neighborhoods.

These are my supporters, I'm proud of them and I'd jump into a foxhole with any one of them any day.

Our contributors are also a microcosm of America. We've received hundreds of contributions from the hard-working people of Illinois' 3rd Congressional District. We've also received contributions - more than 4,000 in all and averaging $70 each - from all 50 states in the Union.

Dan Lipinski has received just nine contributions from his home district in the last six months. The majority of his cash was delivered to him by PACs and special interest groups at a per contribution average of more than $1,000. You can draw your own conclusions about who's running the real people-powered campaign here in Illinois' 3rd District.

Our campaign listens to the people that the current Congressman has ignored. We're the only campaign with an office in two suburban communities and the city.

The best way you can push back on this attack on good people like Sandra, Ahlam, Peggy, Trevor and Betty is to spend some time during the next 18 hours before the polls open up to get the word out about our campaign. Tell people why it's so important that we realize change here in Illinois' 3rd District. Tell people that you're tired of business as usual in Chicago, Cook County and Washington D.C.

You can also contribute to our campaign via ActBlue.

If you live nearby, there is still time to get involved in our Get Out The Vote effort. If you're interested, call our campaign offices at (708) 579-2834 and ask how you can help.

I'll be at Union Station in Chicago greeting commuters around 4:30 p.m. this afternoon if you want to join us. Tomorrow, we will have more than 250 volunteers working across the district, but we can use more.

Thanks for your time and your support.


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