Your vote is your voice! This March, CTU members and supporters of public schools have a chance to elect education champions. A number of important state and county races include candidates that can challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s grip on our city, our schools and our communities. Use the valuable tools below to inform your vote and volunteer for candidates ready to bring change.
Chicago Teachers Union candidate endorsements are based on recommendations from our rank-and-file Political Action and Legislative Committees after many hours of interviewing candidates and reviewing their records of voting and/or community involvement. The committees’ recommendations are then put to a vote of the House of Delegates, which brings together hundreds of representatives each month from every school and work site across the district.
In making their recommendations, the Political Action and Legislative Committees judge each candidate on the following criteria:
- Support for policy positions aligned with CTU’s aims
- Strength of existing campaign infrastructure
Endorsements for these candidates include commitments from the Political Action Committee to motivate volunteers (see below) and contribute money. All monetary contributions are made from the CTU Political Action Committee, which is funded entirely by voluntary donations, not union dues.
For Cook County Commissioner
Chicago Teachers Union organizer Brandon Johnson is running to replace an anti-worker, anti-public education lobbyist who has advocated for massive layoffs – and makes his money lobbying on behalf of for-profit education corporations. The incumbent is cut from the same cloth as Bruce Rauner and the other Republicans he has supported for many years.
Bridget Degnen, a CPS parent and daughter of union members, is running for Cook County board in the 12th district. A long-time attorney in financial regulation for the State of Illinois, she advocates for a fully-funded Cook County budget to protect healthcare and public safety in Cook County. Her opponent has a long, negative record on labor issues.
Commissioner Larry Suffredin
Larry Suffredin serves as the Cook County Commissioner for the far northern part of Chicago and the north Cook lakeshore. Over the last 15 years, he has played a key role in improving the lives of Cook County residents. He was the chief sponsor of the ordinance that raised Cook County’s minimum wage to $13 an hour, he voted to provide all workers in the county with paid sick time, and he has lead the charger for additional revenue for county healthcare and public safety. Larry has also been a trusted advisor to the Chicago Teachers Union since 2011.
For Illinois Attorney General
Sen. Kwame Raoul
State Sen. Kwame Raoul is the lead Senate sponsor of the elected school board bill for Chicago. He was also the lead sponsor of the bill to repeal the death penalty in Illinois. His experience as an attorney in various areas of practice and as a legislator makes him an excellent candidate for Attorney General.
For Illinois House of Representatives
Aaron Ortiz is a Nightingale Elementary graduate, Back of the Yards High School college counselor, soccer coach, Local School Council member – and a proud member of the CTU. He’s running on a platform to fully fund our schools, bring good jobs to the district and staff an accountable, accessible, resident-focused district office.
Rep. Theresa Mah
Rep. Theresa Mah has consistently voted with the CTU on important issues: restoring our collective bargaining rights, reforming Chicago’s TIF program, creating an elected school board for Chicago, and opposing vouchers.
Delia lives on the same block she grew up on -- Central Park between North and Bloomingdale. As a community leader in neighborhood and city-wide coalitions, she's fought for issues critical to working families, from balanced neighborhood development and a $15/hour minimum wage to automatic voter registration and an elected school board.
South Side native Lamont Robinson understands that economic development changes lives and creates safer communities. The Harold Washington College teacher and director of a youth mentorship program knows it's critical to fund education and mentoring for the next generation of youth – and he’ll fight to make state government address the needs of our residents.
Rep. Sonya Harper
Sonya has been a tireless voice for the south side’s students, parents and residents, from demanding full funding for our neighborhood public schools to fighting for economic development that can create more peaceful and prosperous neighborhoods. She’s been a fearless supporter of union teachers and the public call an elected, representative school board.
Rep. Kelly Cassidy
Rep. Kelly Cassidy has been a strong progressive voice in the State Legislature, especially over the past couple of years. In addition to being a vocal opponent of the school voucher bill, she is the vice chair of the restorative justice committee, has been a strong proponent of reducing penalties for non-violent drug offenses, is the lead sponsor of marijuana legalization legislation, and has voted with CTU on our bargaining rights, revenue, and the elected school board.
Rep. Robert Martwick
Bob Martwick understands that educating our children is one of our most important civic responsibilities. He's been a leading legislator in the fight to bring Chicagoans an elected, representative school board, full funding for public schools, and Springfield strategies that create good jobs for ALL residents as the foundation of strong families and strong communities.
Kenwood high school and MIT graduate Adrienne Irmer supports the full funding of early childhood education for every child in Illinois, a progressive income tax that makes the rich pay their fair share into public programs, reversing the disinvestment and inequity that drives violence in our neighborhoods, and moving beyond SB1 to fund all public schools fairly and adequately.
Rep. Mary Flowers
Rep. Mary Flowers has been a staunch CTU ally for years. She is a revenue champion as the lead sponsor of financial transaction tax bills and a supporter of better health outcomes as the lead sponsor of universal healthcare legislation. She has been outspoken in her opposition to school closings past and present, and has voted with CTU to restore our bargaining rights, create an elected school board, and oppose private school vouchers.
For Illinois Senate
Ram Villivalam was a state legislative liason for SEIU Healthcare prior to his run for office. Ram worked with CTU on a variety of issues, including raising the minimum wage, protecting childcare support for low-income families, and taxing hedge fund billionaires by closing the carried interest loophole. He is challenging Sen. Ira Silverstein, who faces a strong petition challenge and a high probability of not making the ballot.
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