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Chris Kennedy pledges to “govern as a feminist”

Friday, Sep 29, 2017

* Tribune

Democratic governor candidate Chris Kennedy declared Thursday that if elected he would “govern as a feminist,” as he sought to intertwine his family’s political heritage with women’s issues at a luncheon featuring his mother, Ethel Kennedy, and two of his sisters.

The fundraiser, which drew more than 350 people with ticket prices starting at $250, marked a rare trip by the 89-year-old family matriarch, human rights activist and widow of Robert F. Kennedy to the city of her birth, where she was born and raised on the South Side. […]

Speaking to the audience, Chris Kennedy accused Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner of engaging in a “war on women” largely as a result of the lengthy stalemate that kept Illinois without a budget until a tax-and-spending package was enacted over his veto.

“As governor of Illinois, I’ll govern as a feminist,” Kennedy said. “I know that when we recognize the importance of women in our lives and in our communities, when we allow them to empower themselves by removing the systemic barriers that exist, only then can we make the growth of our economy, the viability of our state and the security of our future a reality.”

* The campaign produced a video for the event

Putting his mom in there was a nice touch.

* From Kennedy’s speech at the event, provided by his campaign…

Because we believe in fair compensation and a $15 an hour minimum wage in which America’s full-time [workers] don’t have to live in poverty, we must also believe in fair compensation so that women are paid equally for their work.

Because we believe that government has a role in establishing minimum coverage for all citizens across all aspects of healthcare, so too must we believe that women must be afforded sufficient time with their child after giving birth without sacrificing income.

We cannot punish women for being moms.

Because we believe there is an absolute role for the government to intervene in systemic violence, we must also believe that there is a special role for the government to intervene in domestic violence.

Because we recognize that there’s a disproportionate number of women living in poverty, we must make eliminating poverty not only part of advancing equality for women but part of the agenda for the entire country.

As governor of Illinois, I’ll govern as a feminist.

When we recognize the importance of women in our lives and in our communities, when we allow them to empower themselves by removing the systemic barriers that exist, only then can we make the the growth of our economy, the viability of our state and the security of our country a reality.

* And this is an e-mail which came over the transom…

Chris Kennedy claims he will be a “feminist” governor, but his words and actions don’t match up.

Kennedy has yet to tout any women endorsing his campaign and he has repeatedly showed up late to women’s events. During a Mom + Baby event, he showed up an hour late and was “condescending and rude” to a women’s political group. An organizer said she “didn’t think Kennedy would’ve had the same behavior with a group of men.”

Just last week, Chris disrespected a group of downstate women by showing up two hours late to their event.

But this wasn’t the first time. He’s missed many gubernatorial forums and he was the only major gubernatorial candidate to miss forums hosted by women’s groups, including the Democratic Women of South Suburbs.

It’s not just skipping forums and showing up late for women’s events though. He also hasn’t modeled his campaign as the “feminist” he claims to be. His top staffers are predominantly men, including his campaign manager, deputy campaign manager, ad maker and strategist, spokesman, deputy finance director, volunteer and outreach coordinator, and at least three consultants.

Finally, when asked about his support for a woman’s right to choose, Chris called it the “abortion thing,” saying “we have laws in our country and the laws are the laws.” He then awkwardly shifted to talking about his wife’s appointment at the OBGYN, saying “The woman never even looked at me. Never even looked at me.”

I dunno. He’s late to a lot of stuff. And the spokesperson I deal with at the Kennedy campaign is a woman.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

30 Comments
  1. - Grand Avenue - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    Today I learned that being late makes you a misogynist.


  2. - zonz - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 11:52 am:

    Featuring comments by folks who wear your t-shirt seems …


  3. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 11:54 am:

    It’s going to be hard for him to out-feminist the guys who actually chose women as their running mates.


  4. - WizzardOfOzzie - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 11:54 am:

    Great video and speech.

    Weak push back… JB is going to keep harping on the Mom + Babies, which is run by a JB supporter and is being pushed by her friend and JB, Rahm, and Blago advisor Becky Carroll. The link to the downstate woman’s event was to a tweet from a man. Pretty sure it wasn’t a woman’s event. And there are a lot of woman in leadership roles on the campaign. Try harder Pritzker-ites.


  5. - Archiesmom - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 11:55 am:

    I was really prepared to support Kennedy until the missteps kept piling up. I would also like to note that in his list of feminist things that right to choose is not among them. I am obviously not the only one to notice that he evades questions about abortion, and not very skillfully. Kennedy needs to make his position clear. He can be personally against abortion and still support choice. He can be whatever he wants - but just be clear. I know a number of women in state government who will not support him because he will not answer that question directly.


  6. - lake county democrat - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 11:58 am:

    So you can support every feminist piece of legislation, use political capital to get it passed, fundraise for women candidates, have women in power positions on your staff, use your bully pulpit to call attention to women’s issues, but if you’re late to a “mom + baby” event, THAT’S a dealbreaker.

    I wonder: does mocking your kid sister’s ambitions with a Blago type affect one’s “feministness”?


  7. - Truthseeker - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:02 pm:

    “Man, I feel like a woman” as a campaign slogan is simply over thinking it Chris.


  8. - Amalia - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:08 pm:

    great video. long, but must have been useful for that kind of an event.


  9. - Anonish - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:09 pm:

    In my mind there wasn’t a question prior to this that he would support women’s issues, now I’m wondering why they felt there was a need to put this narrative out there.


  10. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:10 pm:

    == His top staffers are predominantly men, including his campaign manager, deputy campaign manager, ad maker and strategist, spokesman, deputy finance director, volunteer and outreach coordinator, and at least three consultants.==

    This is just untrue. One trip to Kennedy’s campaign HQ would demonstrate this.

    @ Arsenal “It’s going to be hard for him to out-feminist the guys who actually chose women as their running mates.”
    There is more to being a feminist than the sex of one’s running mate– look to Rauner and Evelyn Sanguinetti.


  11. - Iggy - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:11 pm:

    In a word, Pandering…


  12. - see saw - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:14 pm:

    Is it just me or he off balance?


  13. - Norseman - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:22 pm:

    I’m going to confess to a shallow inappropriate reaction to Kennedy. Every time I see a picture with him smiling, I think of a fish. My bad.

    This will not affect my vote. I’m voting in the GOP primary to help Sam and even a fish would be a better governor than Rauner.


  14. - Sgt. Slaughter - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:42 pm:

    We already have a Governor that is governing as an extreme radical leftist feminist.


  15. - Arsenal - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:48 pm:

    ==In my mind there wasn’t a question prior to this that he would support women’s issues, now I’m wondering why they felt there was a need to put this narrative out there.==

    ‘Cause HB40 is in the news.

    ==There is more to being a feminist than the sex of one’s running mate==

    Sure, but it’s not like any of these guys disagree on any of the other stuff.


  16. - Helen Reddy - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:50 pm:

    Chris Kennedy should play ” I am Woman” at each of his events.


  17. - Helen Reddy - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 12:52 pm:

    I am woman, hear me roar
    In numbers too big to ignore
    And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
    ‘Cause I’ve heard it all before
    And I’ve been down there on the floor
    No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

    Oh yes, I am wise
    But it’s wisdom born of pain
    Yes, I’ve paid the price
    But look how much I gained
    If I have to, I can do anything
    I am strong
    (Strong)
    I am invincible
    (Invincible)
    I am woman

    You can bend but never break me
    ‘Cause it only serves to make me
    More determined to achieve my final goal
    And I come back even stronger
    Not a novice any longer
    ‘Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

    Oh yes, I am wise
    But it’s wisdom born of pain
    Yes, I’ve paid the price
    But look how much I gained
    If I have to, I can do anything
    I am strong
    (Strong)
    I am invincible
    (Invincible)
    I am woman

    I am woman watch me grow
    See me standing toe to toe
    As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
    But I’m still an embryo
    With a long, long way to go
    Until I make my brother understand

    Oh yes, I am wise
    But it’s wisdom born of pain
    Yes, I’ve paid the price
    But look how much I gained
    If I have to, I can face anything
    I am strong
    (Strong)
    I am invincible
    (Invincible)
    I am woman

    I am woman
    I am invincible
    I am strong
    I am woman
    I am invincible
    I am strong
    I am woman


  18. - anon2 - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 1:00 pm:

    Because we recognize that there’s a disproportionate number of men who commit suicide, who die on the job, and who are murdered, we must make eliminating these gross disparities not only part of advancing gender equality but part of the agenda for the entire country. Fixed.


  19. - Amalia - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 1:01 pm:

    ya’ll know being a feminist just means everyone should be equal, right? this statement from CK is powerful. governing as a feminist is deep code to women who long for equality in all ways.


  20. - Anonymous - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 1:08 pm:

    Y’all know, being a feminist usually means y’all are pro abortion, right? Ok, just wanted y’all to know that…..lol


  21. - Sgt. Slaughter - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 1:17 pm:

    “As Governor, the only female rights I will definitely refuse to stand up for are the rights of unborn female babies.” - All current candidates for Governor


  22. - A guy - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 1:34 pm:

    His video team is better than JB’s. They didn’t once feature the Mr. Ed toothy expression we’ve been seeing.

    Kennedy’s running as Feminists isn’t new. We’ll see if it finally becomes effective.


  23. - horsetoothjackass - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 1:45 pm:

    350 people times a minimum of 250 per ticket…accordingly, his quarterly should show 87,500 was raised at that event. I guarantee it did not raise more than 30K…at best.


  24. - theCardinal - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 1:46 pm:

    snark This should put him over the top, knowing how the Kennedy boys loves the ladies.


  25. - Hit Em With The Hein - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 1:50 pm:

    Time for him to go. He can’t win if he’s his own worse enemy. Rauner is under fire from his own base, now is the time for Kennedy, Daiber, and Biss to unite. It would be the chance to take Rauner out, be united, and have a strong message that wouldn’t require a million tv commercials from here to March. That may be JBs undoing even when he wins people will be sick of him come next November!


  26. - Southwest Burbs - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    Not to say women’s issues aren’t important to CK, but I’m sure a huge part of having a women’s event was to bring in the Kennedy women including his mother. Ethel is an amazing person who has lived through horrible personal tragedies very publicly and always displayed such strength and grace. And my point being, 350 people spending at least $250 a pop. I’m sure he just raised at least $250k, which he desperately needs, that’s why he had this event.


  27. - Blue dog dem - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    Pritzker pledges to govern as antiestablishment.
    Pawar pledges to govern as LGBT.
    Biss pledges to govern as progressive.
    Daiber pledges to govern as education czar.

    Rauner pledges to…..(i am sure to be deleted).


  28. - Periwinkle - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 2:34 pm:

    We get it, Chris, you’re a Kennedy.


  29. - Thomas Paine - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 2:46 pm:

    Lake county dem:

    Millionaire Chris Kennedy has never given a dime to Planned Parenthood PAC and never gave to Personal PAC until he was considering bid for governor.

    Does that sound like a lifelong “feminist” to you?

    Other than his words, which aren’t terribly strong, where is the evidence that Chris Kennedy is a strong supporter of a woman’s right to choose?


  30. - lake county democrat - Friday, Sep 29, 17 @ 4:06 pm:

    TP - read the letter to Rich - I’m mocking the criteria of the letter writer for who is sufficiently feminist. Let’s be honest, there’s no way of knowing which one of these candidates would push a feminist agenda the hardest - they’ll all give about the same lip service, and none of them are going to be pro-lifers.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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