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*** UPDATED x1 - IEA backs Mitchell *** CTU breaks with organized labor on Christian Mitchell race

Monday, Feb 8, 2016

* OK, this is one strange press release…

Karen Lewis: Time to replace 26th District “Rauner” Democrat

CTU president to join congressman, local electeds, grassroots activists in call for ouster of 26th District incumbent in favor of challenger Jay Travis.

CHICAGO, February 8, 2016: With Illinois’ Republican governor ratcheting up his attacks on teachers, public workers, retirees and the state’s most vulnerable, a growing chorus of local voices are calling on voters to reject “Rauner” Democrats who represent Chicago neighborhoods in Springfield — including the 26th District incumbent.

CTU President Karen Lewis will join U.S. Congressman Danny Davis, 10th Ward Alderman Sue Garza, 42nd Ward Alderman Brenden Reilly, and parents, community organizers and local residents of the 26th District TODAY at 12:30 PM, Monday, February 8 at the 42nd Ward’s iconic Billy Goat Tavern, located on the lower level of Michigan and Hubbard at 430 N. Michigan, to lay out their reasons for opposing incumbent Christian Mitchell. The incumbent has been branded a “Rauner” Democrat for sharing elite donors and a political agenda with the Republican governor that they say hurts retirees, schoolchildren, parents, educators and working families.
The 26th District includes some of the city’s most affluent and most economically challenged neighborhoods — from the northern tip of South Chicago all the way north to Streeterville and the Gold Coast.

Travis’ endorsers’ include four aldermen whose wards are included in the district: 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins, 5th Ward Alderwoman Leslie Hairston, 10th Ward Alderwoman Sue Garza and 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly. Along with Congressman Davis, Travis has also been endorsed by Citizen Action/Illinois; United Working Families; the Network for Public Education Action; ATU Local 308, the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents CTA rail workers; the Illinois Federation of Teachers, which represents more than 80,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in the state; BATs — The Badass Teachers Association (BATs), a national education activist organization with over 50,000 members; PUA — People United for Action; and the Chicago Teachers Union.

Travis has worked as a community organizer and non-profit professional for over 20 years, most recently as national coordinator of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools, a national community labor alliance that works for equitable public education. Before that, she worked as a program officer for the Wood Foundation, and before that for 12 years as the executive director of KOCO — the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization. She currently work as a consultant for groups that include the Midwest Academy, with a focus on coaching and training organizers and grassroots activists.

She’s running against a two-term incumbent who’s taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from school privatization groups, anti-labor groups and hedge fund billionaires, supporting a series of anti-labor, pro-privatization bills Travis’ supporters say undermine workers’ rights, neighborhood public schools and the long-term economic health of working families.

* So, the Illinois AFL-CIO, the Chicago Federation of Labor, SEIU, AFSCME Council 31 and a ton of other unions have been somehow duped into endorsing “Rauner Democrat” Christian Mitchell?


Karen Lewis lives in Mitchell’s district. She’s been trying to install her own candidate there for years. Hey, that’s her right. But most of the rest of organized labor has clearly moved on. Lewis won’t, which may be why the aldercreatures have folded.

* But maybe the CTU ought to address this little bit of oppo instead. Yikes.

*** UPDATE *** Timely…

State Rep. Christian Mitchell announced this week that his bid for reelection has been endorsed by the Illinois Education Association, a statewide teachers union, comprised of over 130,000 elementary and secondary education teachers, professors, educational support professionals and retired teachers from across Illinois.

“We are proud to endorse Christian Mitchell for reelection to the Illinois House of Representatives,” said Cinda Klickna, President of the Illinois Education Association. “Christian has stood up against Governor Rauner’s attempts to destroy unions and has fought to protect our ability to collectively bargain. He supports more funding for our schools. Christian is the right choice for our students and our teachers.”

“I’m grateful for their support, and I look forward to continuing our work together in Springfield, particularly our fight against Governor Rauner’s attacks on organized labor,” said Mitchell.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 1:11 pm:

    Karen Lewis, like Bruce Rauner, tries to frame this “big picture, negative”‘ against enemies, when it’s just about an ego-driven end game to an agenda that sometimes runs in complete contrast to what makes sense in the big political picture.

    Labor may feel CTU is with them, just not Karen Lewis?

  2. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 1:35 pm:

    Reilly and Hopkins involvement in this kind of surprises me…

  3. - There is power in a union... - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 1:40 pm:

    I am by no means a Mitchell fan but what makes him a “Rauner democrat?”

    He was with us on 1229

  4. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 1:56 pm:

    ===I am by no means a Mitchell fan but what makes him a “Rauner democrat?”===

    He’s not. Lewis is using the narrative to “accidentally” lump Mitchell in with the likes of Dunkin in hopes no one is the wiser.

    Karen Lewis is using what is separating Democratic Raunerites to separate Mitchell from the seat she wants to control.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:06 pm:

    Well done, IEA, nicely played.

  6. - There is power in a union... - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:09 pm:

    To the update, the IFT, of which I believe CTU is a part, endorsed Travis.

    Does IEA have any bargaining unit members living or working in Mitchell’s district?

  7. - Spliff - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:11 pm:

    I like Mitchell and he has always been good to work with. I think their attempt at his description as a Rauner-Democrat is because groups like STAND for IL have backed him as well as other Corporate Dem groups that have also backed Rauner and Rahm. The Rahm attack might have been better although it didn’t work 2 years ago.

  8. - Blue dog dem - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:15 pm:

    “We have met the enemy and……..”

  9. - FYI - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:20 pm:

    With enemies like that, who needs friends?

  10. - Just Me - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:24 pm:

    The participation of Alderman Reilly raises an eyebrow.

  11. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 2:58 pm:

    I think certain people at CTU need to reevaluate their strategy, I understand backing your own, but you CANNOT call Mitchell a “Rauner” Democrat. He is not Ken Dunkin.

  12. - LizPhairTax - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 3:15 pm:

    To those asking how CM can be called a Rauner Democrat it is Charter schools and donors in common.

    That used to be all it took before KD took it to the next level.

  13. - JS Mill - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 3:18 pm:

    Mitchell is one of a very few members that understands school funding. Unlike Manar he is willing to take a look at real, honest school funding changes.

    Karen Lewis must be feeling better because she is back to full tilt craziness rhetoric. She is smart enough to no better. Is this what is meant by a two-front war?

  14. - Cathartt Representative - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 3:20 pm:

    Spliff is exactly right. Mitchell has been funded by many of the same education “reform” groups like DFER and Stand for Children that Rauner has been a huge backer of. Meanwhile, the current CTU leadership was working with Jay Travis before they even had leadership positions. They face different issues than some other unions. The IEA has no members that work in the district. They may have one or two suburban teachers that live there.

  15. - Henry - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 3:48 pm:

    Reilly and Hopkins may be annoyed that after they helped get him elected the last time, he hasn’t paid much attention to the north side of the district.

    It also may go deeper, as they also endorsed More for SA. This may be part of a battle with the 4th ward backed candidates.

  16. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 4:02 pm:

    Christian Mitchell is not a Rauner Democrat. Geeeez, how dumb does Karen Lewis think people are? Don’t answer that. CTU is clearly delusional. So glad to see everyone else on Christian’s train. Oh, and Brendan??? Shame shame.

    BTW, everyone opposing incumbents is being branded as a Rauner stooge this year whether it’s true, or patently absurd like in the D’Amico/Jac Charlier race.

  17. - There is power in a union... - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 4:15 pm:

    Yeah, I get his charter school connections hence why I don’t really like him. But when I hear Rauner democrat I think of “raunerite” as conceptualized by OW. And for all his faults, Mitchell did stand with us on 1229. Which is pretty much why Afscme went for him this time when we went with Travis in 2014.

  18. - AlabamaShake - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 4:45 pm:

    Calling Christian Mitchell a Rauner Democrat is like calling Dave McSweeney a Madigan Republican.

  19. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 4:51 pm:

    === And for all his faults, Mitchell did stand with us on 1229.===

    That’s the ball game.

    The charters make Mitchell tough to some, but what’s really at play, right here, right now… is Karen Lewis using “Democratic Rauner” to disguise a simple play by Lewis to take Mitchell out by all means necessary for her own wants and desires.

    Linking Mitchell as an alleged “Raunerite”? If it works… but it’s not true.

    - There is power in a union… - if you stick with what is known as a Raunerite, and Ken Dunkin as the Democratic model, they’re pretty easy to find. Not every Democratic primary is a Raunerite grab, but if Proft can squeeze himself in there, that’s when a primary race will need a calibration.

    Thanks for understanding where I am at. Much respect. OW

  20. - Nearly Normal - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 5:26 pm:

    IEA has members in locals in Chicago–adjunct faculty members at City Colleges, Columbia College, Triton College and Morton College. There are a number of suburban educators who live in the city as well.

  21. - Carhartt Representative - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 6:19 pm:

    How Rauner brought Stand for Children to Illinois with a lot of info on Madigan’s roll.


    Stand for Children has donated thousands of dollars to Christian Mitchell.

    From the CPS point of view, I don’t think it’s that big a jump.

  22. - NSideLady - Tuesday, Feb 9, 16 @ 8:17 am:

    They are probably upset with Mitchell’s openness to charters. Some were upset with his pension vote. I don’t know that this is a smart battle to pick. Mitchell is nowhere near Ken Dunkin territory (which is what I would call a Rauner Democrat).

  23. - Tone - Tuesday, Feb 9, 16 @ 8:55 am:

    - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Feb 8, 16 @ 4:02 pm:

    Christian Mitchell is not a Rauner Democrat. Geeeez, how dumb does Karen Lewis think people are? Don’t answer that. CTU is clearly delusional. So glad to see everyone else on Christian’s train. Oh, and Brendan??? Shame shame.

    BTW, everyone opposing incumbents is being branded as a Rauner stooge this year whether it’s true, or patently absurd like in the D’Amico/Jac Charlier race.

    Karen Lewis may be the stupidest public figure in Illinois right now. She may single handedly destroy CPS.

  24. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Feb 9, 16 @ 11:44 am:

    What ever happened to “an injury to one is an injury to all”? The sad fact is that Mitchell is backing a pension cost shift bill that brings in no new revenue for our woefully underfunded public schools — a bill that, btw, is opposed by the very districts it purports to help — at the same time that he’s consistently voted to support school privatizers at the expense of neighborhood public schools. Take a look at who funds Stand For Children, Democrats For Education Reform, We Mean Business — this is the education privatization agenda Mitchell has consistently backed.

    A classic example of his long record of pro-charter votes: he voted NO on HB 3754, which sought to defang the Illinois State Charter School Commission’s undemocratic ability to jam charters into school districts that don’t want them. The CTU noted in its bill analysis that the State Charter School Commission (SCSC) is an initiative of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to promote the expansion of charter schools, especially in suburban areas where there is little support for charters.

    He’s also had no compunction about voting against the retirement security of public workers. He supported SB1, the unconstitutional raid on seniors’ pension benefits. He voted for HB 1154 , which capped some public pensions, despite opposition by groups that included labor coalition We Are One and their partners. He voted for HB1165, which delays and cuts cost-of-living increases for public workers, for HB 1166 to increase retirement ages, for SB 1922, the bill to slash pensions for the Chicago Laborers and Municipal pension funds — a bill that had the greatest impact on the lowest paid employees. In November of 2013, in a move that was opposed by labor unions that included SEIU Local 73, which represented 80% of the workers and retirees affected by the legislation, Mitchell voted for SB 1523. The Emanuel-backed bill targeted Chicago Park District workers, hiking retirement ages by eight years, reducing payments to those disabled by an injury on the job, and greatly increasing employee contributions to the pension fund, along with imposing deep cuts to workers’ cost-of-living adjustment. He has, to date, failed to sign on to support HB 4300, which would close corporate loopholes in Illinois and generate billions of dollars in revenue for the cash-strapped state.

    Some positions are deal-breakers — and voting against the retirement security of public workers and quality neighborhood public schools ought to count as dealbreakers. They sure are for rank and file union members.

  25. - Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner - Tuesday, Feb 9, 16 @ 5:07 pm:

    This is a rankly dishonest play by the CTU. Mitchell has been with labor on everything that matters. The irony here is that Reilly became involved because Mitchell refused to back down on raising the minimum wage. That Karen Lewis wants to get rid of Mitchell anyway shows that this is about power, not principle. What’s interesting here is Reilly’s angle. I assume this is about him forging CTU alliances in advance of a mayoral run?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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