Who am I?
Debra Shore is a Commissioner on the Board of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Elected to a six-year term in 2006, Debra was the first openly gay person elected countywide in Cook County who was not a judicial candidate. Debra chairs committees on Stormwater Management and State Legislation & Rules and has been working to green the agency. She recently helped to gain a majority of board members in voting to support cleaning up the Chicago waterways and has fought to open up District contracts to competitive bidding, to push for a strong stormwater management ordinance, and to promote numerous green infrastructure projects.
Debra serves on the board of the Great Lakes Protection Fund, the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute (Vice Chair), and Congregation Sukkat Shalom in Wilmette. She was the founding editor of Chicago Wilderness Magazine and is an active volunteer restoring prairies and oak woods in the forest preserves. In 1996 Debra became a founding board member of Friends of the Forest Preserves. She is also a member of the Womens Board at the University of Chicago.
Debra graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Goucher College in Baltimore, MD with a degree in Philosophy & Visual Arts. She earned a Masters degree from Johns Hopkins University in Liberal Arts and a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Columbia College (Chicago). In 2008 she earned a certificate in Executive Education from Harvard Universitys Kennedy School of Government. Debra speaks and writes extensively about Great Lakes water issues, including essays on Huffington Post Chicago. She has climbed 42 of the 54 mountains in Colorado more than 14,000 high.
Debra was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention for Senator Barack Obama from Illinois 9th Congressional District in 2008 and she has been a volunteer on numerous political campaigns, including those of Governor Howard Dean (2003), Senator Barack Obama (2004, 2008), Congresswoman Melissa Bean (2004), and State Representative Daniel Biss (2008, 2010). She participated in the first Meetup in Evanston, IL, for Gov. Howard Deans campaign in March 2003 and was an active member of Dean for America ever since. She was selected to participate in the Illinois Womens Institute for Leadership in 2003, a program designed to recruit and groom Democratic women to run for office.
Debra lives with her partner, Kathleen Gillespie, in Evanston, Illinois, and has a 27 year-old son, Ben.
Why am I running?
I am running for re-election to the Board of Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District for several reasons.
First, I have not accomplished all I had hoped to in my first term. (Change is coming, as is clear by our appointment in June 2011 of the first executive director in 50 years to come from outside the ranks of District employees, but it is taking longer than I expected.) Second, I am still learning how to be an effective commissioner. I hope in a second term to become an officer of the board and to exercise even more leadership than I have done thus far. Third, this is a propitious moment in the history of the District and for water issues generally. I hope to help shape a vision for this agency as one primarily devoted to resource recovery and asset (water) management, rather than waste treatment and disposal. Specifically, I want to accomplish the following, among others:
Pass a strong stormwater management ordinance for suburban Cook County that will reduce flooding and enhance water quality in rivers and streams;
Establish an independent inspector general for the agency to ensure greater oversight of contracts and hiring, assure transparency in procurement and mandate accountability in service delivery
Organize a safe, secure, user-friendly collection program for unused and expired pharmaceuticals to keep them out of the waste stream
Develop a much better program of outreach and education on matters of water conservation, managing rain storms, and collective efforts to reduce basement backups and flooding
Promote green infrastructure techniques and devise an innovative revolving loan fund or other funding mechanism to get more rainwater harvesting in the region
Encourage development of a green procurement policy for the District
Im also running because I continue to believe that water will be the issue in years to come and this agency has a key role to play. Currently, residents of Cook County essentially use water once in their homes and businesses, then it is sent to a treatment plant and the treated effluent is flushed down to the Gulf of Mexico. Thats not a sustainable way to live. We can and must do better than that. Serving on the Board of Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District gives me a platform to talk about water issues regionally and to help shape policy and practice for approximately 5.3 million people in Cook County.
Flooding and basement backups
Disposal of pharmaceuticals and protection of drinking water supply
My DFA Values
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My Campaign is People Powered!
When first I ran for office six years ago, I was able to enlist more than 270 volunteers to collect signatures on petitions. This was no small feat and we filed with more than 20,000 signatures (8,000 were the required minimum). In addition, I had more individual donors to my campaign 700+ than any other candidate for this office, who contributed in amounts ranging from $10 to $22,000. (New campaign finance laws now restrict individual donations to $5,000.) Moreover, I was able to attract support from a variety of constituencies the conservation community, the gay & lesbian community, progressive Democrats (Democracy for America, Democratic Party of Evanston, Independent Voters of Illinois), Jews, women, and UNITE HERE.
The launch of my campaign for re-election on June 21 drew more than 200 people from a broad cross-section of my supporters: representatives of labor unions, engineering firms, gays & lesbians, conservation advocates, progressives, other elected officials.
Though I hope to receive the endorsement of the Cook County Democratic Party in my campaign for re-election, I intend to enlist and rely on volunteers to collect signatures to help me get on the ballot and to spread the word about my candidacy. The Victory Fund and Northside Democracy for America have already endorsed me.