Harrison Responds to Complaint about Petition Passing at CL Memorial Day Event

Somehow I missed this press release from Independent candidate for Sheriff Jim Harrison last Friday, June 6th.  When I saw his comment this morning under the June 1st article entitled,

Parent of Soldiers Finds Fault with Harrison Memorial Day Petitioning

I went looking and found the following, which seems to have been issued after a similar signed letter was published in the Northwest Herald:

Jim Harrison Responds to Criticism of Memorial Day Petitioning

Dear Donna McAnally:

I read the McHenry County Blog the other day and saw your complaint to Cal Skinner concerning the circulation of my nomination petitions for the Office of Sheriff, at the Crystal Lake Memorial Day service.

Because Mr. Skinner is an announced supporter of my opponent, I approach articles and comments that “anonymously” appear in his blog, with a certain degree of skepticism.

However, last night I saw your similar letter to the editor of the Northwest Herald, wherein your name was published.

Since you appear to be relentless in your enmity over this issue, the following is my response to your criticism of my campaign for circulating nomination petitions at Memorial Day events around the county:

Joe Alger spoke at Crystal Lake's Memorial Day Ceremony.

Joe Alger spoke at Crystal Lake’s Memorial Day Ceremony.

First, I meant no disrespect by having campaign workers circulating nomination petitions on Memorial Day; quite the contrary actually. My father was a World War II Veteran, having fought in the engagements at Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima, and he was a twice-wounded recipient of the Purple Heart. I grew up understanding and respecting America’s Memorial Day tradition of honoring the military men and women who gave their lives for our Country.

We honor the sacrifices made by these men and women, not only by our parades and speeches and 21-gun salutes, but also through our exercise of the rights secured to us by the Constitution – the same Constitution that our military men and women swear an oath to “protect and defend” – the same Constitution that our fallen military men and women defended with their lives. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides the right to free speech, which includes the right to circulate nomination petitions for political candidates. The free exercise of the rights bestowed on us by the Constitution, particularly on Memorial Day, honors our military men and women who died in defense of those very freedoms.

On a more practical and less constitutionally-theoretical basis, I note from the article that your
personal experience involved a circulator standing yards from the cemetery at the Crystal Lake
Memorial Day service. I’ve since inquired and learned that the circulator was standing on a public sidewalk, outside of the cemetery, circulating nomination petitions to persons entering and leaving the grounds. Public sidewalks are for the use of the “public,” including members of the public who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to circulate nomination petitions.

The “public” needs no permission to be on a public sidewalk.

There is nothing “shameful” or “offensive” or “disrespectful” about a citizen exercising their constitutional rights in a public place during a government-sponsored community event.

Opinions may certainly differ over the choice of when and where and how, and that is to be expected with “opinions,” but the underlying right is constitutional. There is also a significant difference between a private funeral service and a public Memorial Day service. So let’s keep things in perspective here; the woman in question was circulating nomination petitions, not protesting the Memorial Day service; motive does matter. She was outside of the cemetery, away from the service, on a public sidewalk, peaceably exercising her First Amendment rights.

There were hundreds of people around McHenry County who also invoked their constitutional rights by signing my nomination petitions on Memorial Day. Is their exercise of their constitutional rights considered by you to be “shameful” and “offensive” and “disrespectful” as well? If so, then we will just have to agree to disagree on this point.

If politics was played on a level playing field, and I only had to collect 517 petition signatures like my political party opponent, my supporters and I would have been done collecting signatures back in March on the first weekend after the collection period began. Because I am running my campaign independent of party politics, instead of 517 signatures, I need to obtain 6,728 signatures for voters to have a choice for Sheriff in November. I have the same amount of time (90 days) to collect 13 times as many signatures as my political party opponent. Although I disagree with this discrimination in the Election Code, I have to comply with its provisions. To obtain the many thousand signatures of voters that are needed, and to do so in such a compressed time frame, requires our presence at as many public gatherings as possible, including Memorial Day activities.

As for the “holy day” comment made by the circulator, the comment was improper. According to the circulator she responded to the comment that her conduct was “shameful on a holy day” by stating “it’s not a holy day.” Nevertheless, there was no need for the circulator to resort to religious dogma in order to defend her clearly constitutional activity. I assure you that our circulators are instructed to ignore public criticism of their First Amendment activities; however, campaign workers are human too, and as much as we encourage them otherwise, sometimes they emotionally react rather than rationally respond to comments and political criticisms. Rest assured the matter has been addressed with the circulator.

At the time that these events took place, I had no personal knowledge of the identity or location of this circulator or of any comments that may have been exchanged with her constitutional critics. Personally, my wife and I participated in the ceremonies in our home town of Johnsburg on Memorial Day. However, I accept full responsibility for the protected political activities of the circulators working on my campaign and I will support and defend their constitutional right to engage in those activities. I respect your right to hold a different opinion, that’s what makes our country special.

Our laws control the manner in which nomination petitions may be circulated and the circulator’s conduct in this instance was consistent with the law and protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. In my opinion, criticism of a citizen’s lawful exercise of protected First Amendment activities on Memorial Day dishonors the sacrifice of the men and women who died to provide those freedoms. Some of the American blood that was spilled in defense of this country was my father’s; I feel that I honor his service when I exercise the freedoms for which his blood was spilt.

Whether we choose to observe Memorial Day as a solemn event in quiet remembrance of our fallen military men and women who died for our country, or whether we choose to acknowledge and appreciate their sacrifice by exercising the rights they died to defend, we honor their service, their sacrifice, and their memory. May God bless the souls of the men and women who gave their lives in defense of our country, and may God also bless your sons and keep them safe during their tours of duty.


Harrison Responds to Complaint about Petition Passing at CL Memorial Day Event — 42 Comments

  1. This explanation for the former article is MORE offensive than the article itself.

    Harrison didn’t not give a explanation when it was only on the blog and people were commenting on in.

    That wasn’t important to him but he did write an answer when it hit the Herald newspaper.

    This is a true politician talking. Sounds like a little kid,” I can stand on this sidewalk and you can’t tell me to get off”

    He probably counts the people in line at the grocery store in the express lane and if it says 12 people and he sees 13 he’ll stand there and cry Constitution and try and sue them.

    If you think his attorney experience will help the Sheriff’s department,think again,as someone previously said,”The law can be used to help you or hurt you. He used the law to hurt the people at that Veterans ceremony.

  2. and Harrison says he is so concerned about the people of McHenry County.Bull

    By your explanation you have insulted every Veteran and their families in the world.

    The rest of what you had to say I do not believe and you are trying to get out of the mess you are in and that is my Constitutional right to say it.

  3. The actions of of his political workers were shameful, offensive and disrespectful… and clearly lacking in manners…

    My Uncle had been one of the remaining survivors of Normandy..

    Believe, me he would have had a lot to say had he been there the day they were circulating petitions for Jim Harrison’s campaign…

    In fact, he would have been very angry and his anger would have nothing to do with a political agenda.

    It was wrong.

    He was witness to many people dying and sacrificing their lives so we could all be free.

    Many, believe our World would be a different place without their sacrifices at Normandy…

    We owe our veterans respect, even if we do have freedom of speech.

    It was offensive, Jim Harrison, and it should have never happened.

    The best thing you could say is you were wrong and you didn’t use clear judgement.

    Instead, you just continue to dig that big fat hole of yours, just like Andy Zinke….

  4. Jim: Didn’t you drop out of the primary process yourself, seeing as you were initially a republican candidate for sheriff?

    You chose to go through the process of obtaining more signatures in order to alleviate the responsibility and work of going through a primary.

    Quit your whining.

  5. Anyone remember the pastor from Missouri (recently deceased) who demonstrated ON PUBLIC SIDEWALKS AND STREETS adjacent to funerals of those who gave their lives for people like Jim to enjoy his Constitution rights?

    The word is R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

    Does Jim mean that he associates himself with people like Fred Phelps?

    BTW I have read that Cal really likes the color of the shirts worn by Harrison paid volunteers.

    IMHO they are giving “safety green” a bad rep!!

  6. “voter”, I disagree with you.

    There is nothing “offensive” in Harrison’s explanation.

    I’m a veteran, and I don’t feel insulted.

    I have an idea; why don’t you use your own name and then exercise your right to speak out?

  7. Accurate Reader, Harrison made the right choice in the Primary, because the screwball election laws in Illinois eliminate all but #1 in the Primary from being on the ballot in November.

    If you don’t win in the Primary, you cannot get on the November General Election ballot.

    That’s why Zinke won’t be on the ballot in November.

    Anyone who runs in the Primary and doesn’t come in first cannot switch parties, run as an Independent or run as a Write-In.

  8. Thanks Jim for reminding us all of our Constitutional Rights!

    I’d like to remind you of something called compassion and sensitivity.

    Pick another sidewalk, maybe in front of the court house.

  9. That was the only decision Harrison COULD have made.

    He knew he would have trouble running against Zinke and Prim.

    So he backed out.

    He knew he couldn’t run as a Democrat and win(remember he asked people to donate to the Democratic party in his and his wife’s behalf) so when Prim won he went Independent.

    What part of that don’t you understand and now he whines about having to get signatures at anyone’s cost.

  10. Maybe Harrison’s explanation should be sent to the VFW and see what kind of response you get Gus.

    My husband is also a Veteran and he did not like what happened.

  11. People did not give their lives so people like Harrison and his signature hunter could behave that way.

    Also there are other laws which Harrison forgot to mention that protect the people against signatures behavior displayed.

  12. Im sorry, I too find the actions of the Harrison group disrespectful.

    You should have apologized to the lady when you had a chance, instead right a long drawn out appeal that resembled something like Nygren would have filed in the Supreme Court.

    Oh , thats right, you were Nygrens lawyer for those years.

    That explains it your actions

  13. and we want someone like this for the next Sheriff?

    To “The facts state on”——–you have said it all

  14. Yes! Great point “The facts State” Harrison proves over and over again that he should not be the next McHenry County Sheriff…

  15. This is older news, already discussed this on The Milk Days parade Part 1… go back to that post…….

    Several of us already knew about his “apology” ? on 6/08 @8:37 p.m……….

    Then he tried to slip it in 6/09 @8:12a.m.

    Nice try, Just should have said I’m sorry, and left it at that.

  16. Harrison wouldn’t say he was sorry because he has made it very clear that he is not.

  17. After reading Harrison’s explanation and than the comments, I thought at first that I read a different article.

    I found Harrison’s explanation to be sincere, and he addressed the issue of the comment made by his circulator, as being improper.

    Harrison’s also went into great detail in explaining our Constitutional Rights and more, which I do like, because I am a detail person that would like to know the particulars.

    So many comments are made here that is left unexplained, and if you ask what they mean, you are ignored.

  18. Doreen, you don’t even know how to count.

    You are not a detail person and you know the particulars of nothing.

    The fact that you would even support Harrison’s premise that he was exercising his right to free speech afforded by the Constitution is a ridiculous and childish argument at best.

    People can also exercise their right to free speech when they gossip, but it doesn’t make it right….

    You and Jim apparently forgot everything you were suppose to learn in kindergarten, like how to count and manners.

    The actions of the people circulating the petitions for Jim Harrison, demonstrated clear and convincing evidence of social stupidity, social boundaries and more…lol…..

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  19. Doreen how does it feel to be fooled.


    All bologna he wrote.

    I hope people are not as naive as you. You have freedom of speech AS LONG AS YOU DO NOT OFFEND ANYONE.

    I do not know what article you are reading but you don’t understand Harrison’s explanation.

    Harrison can’t fool a lot of people but he fooled you. l.o.l.

  20. Doreen, Remember when you thought Zinke was a great guy too !

    Where did you read that Harrison said his circulator was improper ?

    He just goes on about Constitutional rights……….public sidewalks……..

    He accepts responsibility for his circulators, but improper was not a word he wrote.

    If Harrison gets his signatures, and runs against Prim, I am sure you will get all the particulars you need.

  21. Why doesn’t Harrison publish his Memorial Day explanation of Constitutional Rights in the NW Herald, and answer Donna McAnally.

    I think that the people who don’t have computers or who don’t read Cal’s blog should be answered……..in the NW Herald…..

    Alot of Veterans are older and don’t know how to use computers, so they read the paper.

    Harrison………how about running it in the NW Herald to answer Donna, and then all your bases will be covered ?

  22. Yes Mr. Harrison, we know you read this blog, lets see how big the talker is.

    Write your answer to Donna in the Herald.

    You won’t because you know all the backlash you will get.

    You want to be fair with everyone don’t you.

    Some don’t have computers and they should have the same chance to read your explanation as we have.

    Hey Gus, when are we going to get that tally at the VFW about Harrison’s explanation to see if they were offended?

  23. Doreen, you again, are spreading things that are untrue.

    Harrison never said his supporter was improper. If you saw it please quote it.

    Again,I have never seen you ask a question and not get a response.Where have you ever been ignored?

    Please tell us that.

    If things are not explained to you to your satisfaction then ask but you haven’t.

  24. Doreen doesn’t know how to count…lol. I am sure she would remember if she could…

    Apparently, you are correct voter….

  25. If I have read Harrison’s response correctly, he states

    I’ve since inquired and learned that the circulator was standing on a public sidewalk, outside of the cemetery, circulating nomination petitions to persons entering and leaving the grounds. Public sidewalks are for the use of the “public,” including members of the public who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to circulate nomination petitions.

    The “public” needs no permission to be on a public sidewalk.”

    Jimmy, the 1st Amendment right is not just for your circulator, but also for the others.

    The 1st Amendment right is to ensure that other peoples rights to use the sidewalk are not disrupted and free to move along as well.

    Ofcourse I’m not Nygrens lawyer, I’m just saying.

  26. Facts, you are 100% correct.

    The VFW Post 11496,I believe, hosted the Memorial Day Parade in Johnsburg.

    Everyone at the parade was having a good time honoring the Veterans and Harrison and his group were in the parade and all the positive talk Harrison was saying….

    Little did they know that during that time one of Harrison’s circulators was disrespecting their own Veterans.

    I really wonder what the VFW Post #11496 would say if someone sent them Harrison’s response and explanation post.

    Just sayin’

  27. As for the “holy day” comment made by the circulator, the comment was improper.

  28. There was talk about a Harrison’s land deal by Mr. Wonderful, I asked, and I was ignored.

  29. Responding to most of the comments here is like trying to have a conversation with a drunk.

    Why do all you chickens hide behind pen names?

    Why are you so afraid to post your nasty comments under your real name?

  30. Gee Gus, when are we going to the VFW to see what the other Veterans have to say about how they feel about Harrison’s explanation of the Memorial Day

    Ceremony antics. You told me you are a vet and was not offended and thought Harrison was right.

    I said that I didn’t think other Vets felt that way.

    So what do you say about sending his letter to the VFW’s and let them voice their opinion.

    I could be wrong but doubt it.

    Dishonoring a Memorial Day Ceremony is unforgivable and I think a lot of Veterans would feel that way.

  31. There is a vast difference between winning the battle and the war.

    Jim Harrison wrote what he, I’m certain, believed was a very well reasoned explanation of the what and why of his campaign actions.

    I will completely concede Jim Harrison has won the argument for why he is allowed to campaign outside Memorial Day services.

    I will completely concede the fact there is a great deal of American blood spilled across the world to protect his rights and the foundational natural rights of each Citizen.

    You are the big winner Jim!

    Yeah for Jimmy!

    Who’s a big boy?

    The reality is the collection of signatures is but one step in the campaign.

    Should he actually over top this(admittedly unfair) hurdle the next step is to convince the public he is worth voting for in the general election.

    Step one in sales and seeking favor with the public is to respect the folks you are trying to sell or from whom you seek favor.

    I believe the sentiment forwarded is people do not even remotely feel Jim Harrison respects them, their rights, their beliefs, their emotions, their families, their communities…. Nothing.

    The explanation did not dispossess people from these feelings.

    So, Jim, you win the battle by concession and completely lose the war.

    Is it worth it?

  32. Priest…….we have had our ups and downs but your comment hits it on the head and you are totally right.

  33. It looks like there are others around the country, trying to get signatures.

    In the New Milford Spectrum, CT. newspaper, Patricia Erickson, wrote a letter to the Editor, with her views.

    The article is entitled “Turned Off By Campaigning On Memorial Day ”

    I also found many others, from Milwaukee, Wi. to South Carolina, who found that Memorial Day is NOT the time to campaign.

    Check it out…….another well said opinoin

  34. Looks like everyone agrees with a high majority of us who think campaigning is a turn off with getting signatures.

    Wow, all the way from Ct, Wisconsin, South Carolina and I bet it goes on to other states.

    Thanks, Happy for posting this.

  35. I repeat: I’ve read the above comments and thought for a moment I was reading the Crook County Blog!….

    in my opinion most of this is written by people either worried about their job or their incumbent political future….

    you really think the voters are this naive?

    I was there…

    vets were grabbing Harrison’s clip boards and signing… ..

    these former soldiers, young and old, are so POed with this good ole one party, two name, system….

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