Posted by Keith Reed
There were 31 members present.  Guests were Mary Bak (Rotary District Asst. Governor); Mark Vorhees (guest of Chuck Norton); and Chris Rintz (Winnetka Village President).
   Patti Van Cleave gave the “thought of the day” consisting of statements from the late Martin Luther King Jr. about the importance of speaking up and acting against injustice and poverty. 
ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Ned Meisner, Joe and Tom Nash all celebrated birthdays; and Liz Taylor celebrated being a Rotary member for 16 years.  One Rotary Center in Evanston is having a program on “peace building” from 6-7:00 PM on April 10 (Tom has sent out emails detailing this program);  at 4:30 on April 14, the WYO holds its benefit at Avli Restaurant in Winnetka, which includes a silent auction featuring an autographed baseball by Anthony Rizzo; on April 19, the Volunteer Center is having a recognition dinner honoring four local people/organizations, including Liz Kunkle, Lynn Cole and John Liscomb; Mary Bak mentioned a half day training session on April 28 from 8:00-11:00 AM sponsored by the Rotary’s District Assembly for incoming Rotary officers; members were reminded of our Club’s annual benefit set for May 11 and that we may end up having our regular meeting on May 10 to accommodate a special speaker (notice will be given when finalized); Bob Thomas announced the WCH fund raiser on May 14 which will feature  Second City’s improv comedy program; and a reminder was given of the District Conference in Sheboygan from May 17 to 20 which provides for several different attendance packages, including the possibility of attending only the Foundation Meeting.  Tom Nash finished the announcements by recognizing David Birkenstein for all the things he has done for Rotary in the past, his continued financial support and his recent “Major Donor Level One’ contribution to the International  Rotary Foundation.
HAPPY BUCKS: Robert Mardirossian gave for being present for the first pitch of the Cub’s first game of the 2018 season which Ian Happ hit out of the park, and for attending the Del Ray Rotary meeting at which he met Jack Brinkman, who was a very active Rotarian from Palatine. Marie Kulpers was happy because she found out in a recent DNA test that she was part English, as is her husband, as well as being half German and that she and her two brothers all have the same DNA! (Tom announced that Marie has agreed to follow Bill Leske as our Club’s president, which was received with a round of applause from our membership.) Barb Tubekis gave because of the success of her organization’s program “Meet the Press” on March 21 where 60 people from non-profit organizations discussed how to use the media for fundraising and publicity. Patti gave for Mike Shelton finally returning from Arizona and her impending trip to where he just came from-- Arizona. Mark Kotz gave for the very informative tour of the New Trier high school campus organized by Wes Bauman who just happens to have a bronze plaque of his likeness prominently displayed in the student activities area.
Bob Thomas gave the “dig and grin” about people who drive their cars too slow or too fast being considered by their fellow travelers as idiots or maniacs!
SPEAKER ROBERT J. DOLD: Bob was introduced by Eric Birkenstein who has known Bob for over 9 years.  Bob served in the U.S. Congress from 2011-2013 and again from 2015-2017. He is a 1987 graduate of New Trier and his family runs the Rose Pest Control business on the North Shore. Bob said he was willing to discuss most political topics but that he had been asked to first address what it is like to be in
Congress. He said that unfortunately our Congress is polarized—no one is listening to the other side—and we can’t get pass square one on most issues.  He said that our 10th District has always been fairly competitive between the parties, but that only about 30 out of the 435 elections every two years are really competitive, although that will probably change this Fall. The general rule in the 10th District is that if a Representative can win two elections in a row, they will likely be a long-tenured member of Congressl  A Congressman has to raise about 6 ½ million dollars for an election and each one gets about 1.2 million dollars annually to run their D.C. and local offices. They are permitted to have as many as 18 ½ full time staff members who are paid out of that amount. The three most important things for a Congressman to do are: Know the rules of Congress  (though they are in a book 6” thick); become an expert in one thing; and keep their word. He said that members from opposing parties don’t interact or socialize together as they used to do years ago. For example, during the week orientation of new Congress members, there is only one event which both parties attend together. He said many members live in their offices because it is too expensive to move their families to D.C.—this is another difference from years ago when the Congressmen had more interaction with each other through their kids and other family members in the D.C. community.  In response to a question about the cause of the current partisanship in Washington, he said that the development of C-Span has caused most politicians to be careful of what they say on the floor. He observed that districts that are closer to 50/50 representation by both parties seem to have the most discussions on issues and are more prone to compromise. He cited Illinois as a State where there is very little interaction between the parties.  He also mentioned the problem with redistricting by the party in power, and that it should be done by an independent commission or by computers. Even though 550,000 Illinois voters have signed petitions for a referendum on redistricting reform, the Illinois State Supreme Court has denied such vote three times for constitutional reasons.
    Regarding gun control, Bob said that he thought there will be changes in our gun laws, but does not believe the 2nd Amendment will be abolished.  He suggested that comprehensive background checks of gun purchasers/owners is important and is possible; that restriction of sales on automatic weapons is possible; and that raising the age of gun buyers may have some legal problems and may not be that effective of a remedy. He did say that the Citizens’ United U.S. Supreme Court case has caused serious problems and imbalance in campaign finances and opened the door for outside groups to be more influential in elections. 
    In response to a question about Congressmen living outside their District, Bob pointed out that due to redistricting, he lived outside his district when he served his second term, but felt that he was just as  aware of the issues in the 10th District, even though his home was located in Kenilworth.  The meeting ended by everyone agreeing that our politicians would be far more effective and our  Country better off if everyone followed the Four Way Test of Rotary!!
 
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