* Sen. Daniel Biss held a Facebook Live event last night…
ATTENDEE: People are asking if you would please comment a little bit on the situation involving your first running mate if you can do that and there’s a follow up question but I’ll only ask it if it’s necessary.
BISS: So, Illinois only in the last two election cycles governor/lieutenant governor candidates run as a team in the primary and then get nominated together and run together in the general election. And I actually think it’s a really good reform because what it means is you can run as a partnership, and that partnership can be carried into the office of governor and lt. governor and that’s really the only circumstance in which certain lieutenant governor’s position makes a lot of sense.
And so, I spent part of the summer thinking about who I wanted to run with and interviewing a series of people and one of the options of who was on my short list was an alderman from the Northwest Side of the city from the 35th Ward by the name of Carlos Ramirez-Rosa. And I can talk more about his strengths of which there are plenty, and I can talk some about his weaknesses, everybody has some. But it was an exciting partnership in certain respects, but there were some things that I wanted to check out.
One thing that some people told me I should look out for was he’s a member of the Democratic Socialist of America. And my attitude was ‘I don’t believe in guilt by association, I’m not going to participate in calling someone out because they’re a socialist.’ I disagree with that. I think we should welcome people who are from active progressive groups, but I also wanted to make sure that I was comfortable with the positions taken by the organization or at least if not, feel free to talk about them.
So, I read the organization’s platform and there’s an awful lot there that I promptly agree with and there’s things that I have modest disagreements with, but could easily see both sides.
But there was one set of issues that because of my personal family background, where I come from as a grandson of a Holocaust survivor was important to me personally. Candidly speaking, not one of the most important issues facing the state government, but it’s an issue that is important to me personally and that’s what’s called the BDS or Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement regarding the relationship between Israel and Palestine.
I just have a personal discomfort with that which I’m getting to if you guys will find interesting, but my guess is it’s not you want to talk about tonight. And so, because of that, I asked him his position and he said he shares my position, and Bernie Sanders’ position was not in support of that movement, and then during the course of the first few days of the campaign as we got a lot of questions about it I think he did a lot of thinking and came to a different conclusion and obviously I respect his right to change his mind and I respect his potion but it was a division that I just didn’t feel was going to be workable for the ticket and so I regrettably had to part ways and then move forward with another person who is under active consideration and is a good friend and a close ally, her name is Litesa Wallace.
She is a state representative from Rockford whom I fought with on a variety of issues we fought on LGBT issues, we recently passed a bill into law that even Bruce Rauner signed advancing LGBTQ justice that she was the House sponsor that I was the Senate sponsor. We fought side by side especially on access to child care, she’s someone who I know well and trust, we share a commonality on values and so we had to make a change and moving forward full speed ahead and ya know it was obviously a difficult situation and an uncomfortable situation, but I would say that Carlos is a strong progressive we share a lot of values he’s a good person and a good ally on important issues and obviously someone I think has a very, very bright future in politics.”
Lots of words. The full video is here. The snippet above is here.
* What really happened between the two men is still in dispute…
Ramirez-Rosa denies the claim that he flip-flopped. He told the Reader he has opposed BDS at the state and local level because city and state governments shouldn’t engage in foreign policy—but he supports it at the federal level.
“What I said in June 2016 at the People’s Summit is that we need to have a conversation about the best way that the U.S. federal government exerts pressure on the state of Israel to bring about a two-state solution,” Ramirez-Rosa said. “I recognize Israel’s right to exist. I want to see an end to the occupation of Palestine and we need to have a constructive dialogue about what the U.S. government does in relation to the money it sends Israel to put pressure to create that two-state solution. I have made those positions clear in numerous public forums and it’s unfortunate that Senator Biss did not understand those facts.”
How much did [Congressman Brad Schneider] withdrawing his endorsement play into the understanding of those facts?
“We had many conversations on this matter before and after Congressman Schneider pulled his endorsement, but I want to respect the conversations that I had with Senator Biss and the campaign and keep them private,” Ramirez-Rosa said. “Unfortunately it became clear that after numerous days of conversations, we would not be able to continue together as a ticket. Ultimately, it’s his ticket and I respect his decision.”