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Republican officials condemn attack letters to Woodstock Democrats

State lawmaker, County Board member speak out

Anonymous attack letters sent to Woodstock residents with Democratic political signage on their lawns has pushed a pair of Republican leaders in McHenry County to speak against hate rhetoric in the community.

“I condemn the coward(s) who wrote these letters, and ask anyone with any bit of concern for the direction in which our public conversation has gone to do the same,” state Rep. Steve Reick, R-Woodstock, said in a statement. “This transcends party, and silence is not an option.”

The typed letters, signed by “The Phantom” and “The Wizard,” arrived in the mail last week for Woodstock Democrats Sarah Parisi and Lou Ness. The letters included no return address and attacked the residents for the signs planted in their yards supporting local Democrats.

“What you dunces do well is lie, cry, whine, resist and delay,” the sender wrote to Parisi, a 41-year-old mother. “Advertising you [low] intelligence quotients on your lawns show how brain dead so many of you lazy, weak introverts are.”

In a letter sent across the street to Ness, 70, “The Wizard” called her a “socialist” and included racial slurs aimed at African-Americans and the LGBTQ community.

“Unless we are willing to step away from the rank tribalism that has infected our politics, it’s only going to get worse,” Reick said. “Letters like this – as well as those who spew bile in comments on blogs and social media while hiding behind a veil of anonymity – all serve to shred the fabric of our democracy, which is strengthened by debate, not by cowards lurking behind their anonymous names.”

Parisi called the Woodstock police, she said, and an officer made a photocopy in case future incidents occur. The Northwest Herald could not reach police for comment Thursday, but Woodstock Mayor Brian Sager confirmed that police are engaged in an “active, ongoing and aggressive investigation.”

Chris Spoerl, a District 1 Republican on the McHenry County Board, spoke against the sender during the board’s meeting Tuesday.

“It is up to us to stand up and denounce these acts that are meant to assault, dehumanize and discriminate,” Spoerl said. “I reject and condemn the letters.”

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