Rep. Underwood and Tweedy rock the Egyptian Theatre


Sean Reed

Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, waves to a crowd of supporters at an early vote rally at the Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb, IL, Nov. 2, 2022. (Sean Reed | Northern Star)

By Evan Mellon, News Reporter

DeKALB – An early vote rally held Wednesday at the Egyptian Theatre brought together supporters of Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville and fans of musician Jeff Tweedy for a night of political speeches and music.

The event began around 7:20 p.m. with an introduction by Ronnie Cho, the senior adviser of the Underwood campaign.

“It’s a rare time to have a leader, and a candidate for that matter, who has so much promise who actually fulfills that promise and exceeds expectations, and it’s a hard thing to do in American politics these days,” Cho said.

Cho welcomed Anna Wilhelmi, the executive committee chairperson of the DeKalb County Democrats, to the stage. Wilhelmi vocalized her support for Underwood and said she feels political participation is vital to building community.

Cho introduced several candidates running for local offices before welcoming them to the stage.

Speakers each gave brief speeches on their personal experiences meeting Underwood and how her policies affected them positively, as well as encouraging the audience to vote.

“We want you to vote. We also want you to be good citizens,” said Linh Nguyen, candidate for DeKalb county clerk and recorder. “And, by the way, citizen should not be a status. It should be a set of responsibilities.”

Underwood walked onstage at 7:43 p.m. to a large round of applause from the audience. She addressed the audience by informing them of her values, experiences as a congresswoman since 2019 and why she believes that voting in the midterm election is very important to the future of the country.

“We get to call the shots, because our rights and our future are on the ballot. Abortion rights are on the ballot, workers’ rights are on the ballot, common sense is on the ballot,” Underwood said. “We control our destinies this November and beyond; and the people in this room will play a critical role to make sure that the likes of Lindsay Graham, and Darren Bailey and my opponent Scott Gryder, will never make deeply personal decisions for you.”

Underwood reminded the audience that early voting locations are open in the Holmes Student Center and other locations.

Musician Jeff Tweedy of Wilco performed his hit songs at the Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb, IL, Nov. 2, 2022. (Sean Reed)

After her speech, Underwood brought Tweedy, well known for his role as singer and guitarist in the Grammy award winning rock band Wilco and his own personal projects, onto the stage to perform a small concert for the audience. He played several of his songs and talked about the value of political action.

“Thank you to everyone who gets involved,” Tweedy said. “It’s so important because voting isn’t enough anymore and we all have to be out there doing what we can.”

Underwood closed out the night by thanking the audience for encouraging their peers to vote and let their voices be heard.

“Elections have consequences. You know that who we elect matters,” Underwood said. “And you know that even in a democracy under threat, we decide who represents us and our values. So thank you for all you’ve done, and all you’ll continue to do to defend our democracy and protect our American values of opportunity, fairness, and justice.”