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Harris and Zopp move to the left

Wednesday, Oct 28, 2015 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Crain’s

After months of quiet chatter about a bid, state Sen. Napoleon Harris III of Flossmoor says he’s decided to get in the race. Although it’s a little late, there are signs he means it.

I’ve confirmed that Harris is circulating nominating petitions and that he’s hired a pollster, Mike McKeon. In an interview, Harris said he hopes to file needed federal paperwork by the end of the week and has arranged to rent office space. […]

Politically, Harris’ entry could hurt Kirk by injecting more energy into the Democratic race or help him by splitting the African-American vote with Zopp, giving Duckworth an easier path to the nomination.

Interestingly, when I asked about the latter, Harris took a clear shot at Zopp, saying, “I have a base. I’m an elected official. I don’t see her as having a base.” But he ducked a chance to go after Duckworth, saying she has a record and could defeat Kirk.

Considering how many e-mails I get from the Kirk campaign and other Republican Party outlets eagerly touting Zopp’s candidacy against Duckworth, I’m not sure how this helps Kirk, particularly since Harris appears to be targeting Zopp.

* Interestingly enough, one of the issues developing in this race is marriage equality. I don’t know how much resonance it will have since it’s now the law of the land, but Duckworth said this past summer it should’ve happened “decades ago”

Um, OK, but almost a decade ago, Duckworth was against the idea

Cegelis and Duckworth oppose President Bush’s restrictions on embryonic stem cells for research, but Scott said he supports them to protect fetuses. None of the candidates support legalizing gay marriage.

* Sen. Harris was a “Present” vote on gay marriage and is quite conservative. From a 2013 campaign press release

…Napoleon Harris, one of the Democratic Party’s most deeply conservative voices. Senator Harris is on record as anti-choice, anti-marriage equality, against the Equal Rights Amendment, and in favor of voter ID laws.

…Adding… From Sen. Toi Hutchinson…

Since 2013 I’ve had the opportunity to serve with and become friends with Senator Harris. We’ve had many heart to heart talks about my views on reproductive rights and the impact that has on the economic security of women. I’ve watched his votes closely and have been very thankful that on issues I care passionately about like eradicating pregnancy discrimination, strengthening domestic violence laws, the right to be given all of your medical options when someone exerts their ability to deny care, anti bullying, healthy sexual education, and ratifying the equal rights amendment, Senator Harris has stood with us each time. Voters will decide based on his record, and the reality is, his voting record is strong in this arena.

* Zopp, on the other hand, played a role in passing the marriage equality law. Zopp was president of the Chicago Urban League when it participated on the Illinois Unites for Marriage campaign, hosting the field office and running phone banks, as well as acting as a much-needed go-between between the LGBT and African-American communities. Her group won Equality Illinois’ 2014 Freedom Award

Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Illinoisans, announced today that the first of its annual Freedom Awards to be presented at the 2014 Equality Illinois Gala is going to the Chicago Urban League for spreading the message of fairness and equality. […]

An active partner with Equality Illinois and other organizations in the pro-marriage coalition, the Chicago Urban League committed valuable resources and talent and even the use of its headquarters to the marriage campaign. When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this summer that same-sex married couples cannot be denied federal rights, the Chicago Urban League applauded the decision “as a civil rights organization that has, for nearly a century, fought for equality for the undeserved and disenfranchised.”

* Meanwhile, Zopp took some political shots at Rauner this week…

U.S. Senate Candidate Andrea Zopp was joined by students and non-profit leaders at a press conference Tuesday to address how the Illinois budget impasse and Governor Bruce Rauner’s unwillingness to resolve his conflicts with Democrats has negatively impacted the lives of everyday Illinoisans, especially the communities who can ill afford to bear the burden.

Zopp discussed how cuts to MAP grants, after school programs, daycare, and more have led Illinois residents to scramble to provide for themselves and their families.

Zopp spoke out against Rauner’s focus on selling the Thompson Center instead of attacking the real issues, Zopp said: “At a time when so many people are in dire need of support, especially minority communities and the poor, the governor has chosen to put a stake in the ground when he should be focused on being an effective leader.”

Torrey Barrett, Executive Director of the K.L.E.O. Community Life Center, has first-hand experience of the struggles in the community when youth don’t have better alternatives in their neighborhoods. “This budget crisis has hit our kids the hardest. From after-school program funding to MAP grants for college, our leaders have made it so much harder for hard-working youth rise out of poverty and succeed.”

Jocelyn McGee, a mother and MAP grant recipient spoke about how the budget impasse has made it difficult for her to finish her studies because her child care costs have doubled at the same time the future of her grant funding has become uncertain. “Cutting aid for children means that I will no longer be able to send my son to daycare unless I quit school and go back to work full-time. “This is a problem for me. It becomes a bigger problem when the state does not support students because I rely on MAP grants to pay a portion of my tuition at DePaul.”

Bianca Berkhia, Director of Development at La Casa Norte, a Humboldt Park-based not-for-profit that provides vital support services to youth and families facing homelessness, called on the Governor to do what’s right for the people of Illinois and end the budget impasse. “The people we serve are suffering under the crushing blow of the Rauner approach to running government without a budget. A resolution is possible but he must come to the table and do the job he was elected to do.”

Also participating in today’s press conference were Tyler Solorio, an Army Police veteran of the war in Afghanistan and MAP grant recipient; and Phil Crawford, a MAP grant recipient who is a junior at Roosevelt University.

* Both Zopp and Harris are attempting to stake out a position on police misconduct…

In response to the forceful arrest of a Spring Valley High School student arrest caught on tape, U.S. Senate Candidate Andrea Zopp has issued the following statement:

“As a mother, former prosecutor and someone who has spent years working in the community to create better opportunities for students to get a quality education, I am deeply disturbed by the incident between a police officer and a student at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, South Carolina. Once again, the country is shocked by the excessive use of police force caught on film. Schools are places where students should be educated, empowered and made to feel safe. Not flipped over in a desk, dragged across a floor and violently arrested in front of their classmates. Especially when they pose no threat to the authorities.”

“Unfortunately, this appears to be another vivid example of an excessive use of force on a person of color by a police officer. I am glad to hear that federal authorities are investigating this incident as a possible civil rights violation. I call on Congress to carefully monitor the investigation and use their legislative power to ensure that better training is provided to police officers who work in schools. More needs to be done on the local, state and federal to stop these incidents from happening. As the wife of a retired law enforcement officer, I know that there are other choices that could have been made in that classroom to better address the conflict between the student and school administrators.”

From Sen. Harris

Senator Napoleon Harris (D-Harvey) recently contacted the U.S. Attorney General after reports in the media raised concerns about violation of basic human and constitutional rights at Homan Square, calling for an investigation of policing practices in Chicago.

Homan Square is a Chicago police warehouse where a number of detainees have reported being mistreated by police.

“Transparency protects our police officers and the people they interact with,” Harris said. “When 7,000 people are held by police with few public records, it raises red flags and I feel we have a responsibility to look further into it.”

* Despite this rhetoric, Zopp is not exactly a woman of the people. For example, I have no idea why she even bothered to respond to this October 22nd Crain’s story, entitled “Where top execs go for steak”

“Chicago Cut. For lunch, I order lobster salad; for dinner, bone-in rib eye. I like the restaurant because it has a great energy and vibe, the service is outstanding and they always make you feel welcome. I typically go for lunch but have been there for breakfast and dinner. It’s always great.” — Andrea Zopp, U.S. Senate candidate, Chicago


  1. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:48 am:

    Ah. Harris is running interference for Duckworth. Got it. And I wanted to support him. Well… Oh well….

  2. - After Further Review - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:51 am:

    So like the Clintons, Duckworth was in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act decades ado before she was against it.

  3. - @MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 11:58 am:

    From the Chicago Cut website:

    Salad - Mixed Field Green Salad: $8.00
    Salad Additions - Lobster: $16.00
    Lunch total = $24.00

    From Our Dry Aging Room USDA Prime Beef - Bone-In Rib Eye: $59.00

    – MrJM

  4. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:00 pm:

    Senator Harris has a fair chance imho, but he will lose credibility if his main purpose in running is to help Duckworth.

  5. - Why Me - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 12:57 pm:

    Harris should stick to pizza and doing some real work on the state level. Come on MAN!

  6. - DecaturGuy - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 1:00 pm:

    the campaign will be an epic struggle between Duckworth’s talking points and her actual record.

  7. - Archiesmom - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 1:15 pm:

    What record can Harris run on? Because I’m not sure what he’s ever done as a state senator that would incline me to move him up to the Federal government.

  8. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 1:26 pm:

    In regards to Ms. Zopp’s eating habits, whatever. Congresscritters routinely rack up pretty big tabs at D.C. establishments and then whip out the campaign credit/debit card to pay for it. At that point, who cares what you eat or drink?! You’re not paying for it. I’m also sure that Senator Harris doesn’t live off of Aldi’s ramen noodles and tap water. At least she’s being honest.

  9. - Rollo Tamasi - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 2:07 pm:

    What ever happened to the VA whistleblower lawsuit against Duckworth? Was that settled?

  10. - Century Club - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 3:43 pm:

    The Urban League’s (and therefor Zopp’s) position on marriage equality was bold and important at a time when the loudest voices in the African American community were conservative pastors. If her entire public career looked like that, Duckworth would have had a real fight on her hands.

  11. - myra jost - Wednesday, Oct 28, 15 @ 7:28 pm:

    another stalking horse for duckworth - what a shame or is that a sham

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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