* From a recent interview of Bruce Rauner…
I got so frustrated with the pace of school reform that I formed a PAC four years ago, and got a piece of legislation drafted, that took away tenure for ineffective teachers, took away the teachers’ ability to strike in Illinois because its a nuclear bomb on our taxpayers, and it’s a public safety issue for kids, and put in a rigorous school accountability system.
Got the bill drafted, it was pending in the legislature, Madigan, Daley - it was bi-partisan support, and we lost most of the bill. And you know who fought us the hardest in the legislature in the end when it got killed? Republicans in the legislature who take teacher union money.
This is the challenge we’ve got, but you know what? I’ve never taken a nickel from a government union boss, I can stand up to them. I don’t need their …I’m financially independent … I will take on the teacher’s union, AFSCME and SEIU. They’ve got a stranglehold on the state.
* Illinois Review followed up by checking some GOP campaign finance disclosures…
State Rep. Sandy Pihos received a $25,000 check from the IEA in September, just before she introduced legislation to reduce state educational grants going to Chicago schools. With a growing controversy over how Illinois education funds are distributed, the IEA, which represents the vast majority of Illinois’ teachers outside of Chicago, has millions at stake. Pihos is influential as the Republican spokesperson on the House Elementary & Secondary Education, as well as serving on the House Approp-Elementary & Secondary Education committees. […]
State Sen. David Luechtefeld, a former teacher, principal and high school basketball coach, is the Minority Spokesman on the Senate Education Committee. The IEA has given him over $115,000 in campaign donations over the years.
Other GOP lawmakers who have received at least $5,000 of support from the IEA include State Reps. Keith Sommer, Chad Hays, David Reis, Mike Bost, John Cavaletto, David Leitch, Adam Brown, Dan Brady, and Dennis Reboletti; and State Senators Dale Righter, Sam McCann, Chapin Rose, and DuPage County’s Kirk Dillard.
Dillard, who received $250,000 from teachers unions in his 2010 gubernatorial bid, is the only current Republican lawmaker to receive support from the radically left-wing Chicago Teachers Union.
* The IR’s conclusion…
The amount of money and diversity of recipients speaks to the depth and breadth of political influence the teachers unions have in the state. No matter who the governor is in 2015, one of their most formidable opponents will be the many teachers unions. Time will tell if a gubernatorial David will ever be able to fell this union goliath.
Time will also tell if Rauner can make support from public employee unions an effectively divisive issue in a GOP primary. Polling indicates that the idea has traction.
But does the Republican Party really need yet another issue that supposedly defines who is and who is not a “real” party member? And can anybody say with a straight face that Keith Sommer, Adam Brown, Dale Righter and Sam McCann (among all those others) aren’t “true” Republicans?