Illinois Democratic Candidates Join SEIU Local 1 Members for Gubernatorial Forum

group photo for newspaperOn June 3, the Democratic candidates running for governor of Illinois  joined SEIU Local 1 members and airport workers for a forum where they discussed issues important to Illinois’ working families. The Chicago Tribune covered the event – read more below!

“…Indeed, the Saturday SEIU forum found Pritzker, Biss and Pawar largely focusing on Rauner rather than one another. Kennedy did not attend because of a family graduation but sent a brother-in-law as a surrogate.

“Pawar, the 47th Ward alderman, went so far as to accuse Rauner of racism over the governor’s call to suspend the immigration of refugees from war-torn Syria into Illinois after 130 people were killed in a series of terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015.

“‘Let’s start by recognizing a simple truth. No human being is illegal,’ Pawar told a few hundred people at Plumbers Hall on the Near West Side.

“‘And here’s the other thing. It’s true, Donald Trump is a racist, he’s a bigot, he’s a xenophobe — but so is Bruce Rauner because this is the same governor, the same governor, who wanted to ban Syrian refugees before Donald Trump called for it. That’s immoral,’ Pawar said.

“Asked to respond to Pawar’s comments, the Rauner campaign issued a general statement criticizing the Democratic candidates for governor.

“Biss told union members that Rauner is a chief problem in trying to get equitable school funding for Chicago and school districts across the state.

“‘Bruce Rauner, who is trying to torpedo the Chicago Public School district, who’s trying to break the Chicago Teachers Union, who wants to take apart that district so they can privatize it and make his friends in the charter school business wealthy, and he is doing it on purpose, and he is fighting tooth and nail to hurt Chicago schoolchildren,’ Biss said.

“Pritzker touted endorsements he already has received from organized labor, primarily from trade unions, and said his effort is aimed not only at winning the governor’s office but also at electing more Democrats to the General Assembly to bolster its majorities.

“‘We also need to win at every level. We need more state legislators who stand for a progressive income tax. We need more state senators who will stand up for a progressive income tax, and that’s why I’m not just running this campaign about winning for governor, I’m running this campaign about Democrats winning all up and down the ticket,’ he said.

“All four of the major campaigns for the Democratic governor nomination expressed support for a graduated income tax to replace the state’s current flat-rate tax, something that would require a state constitutional amendment to be approved by voters. The campaigns also agreed on a $15 minimum wage rate, improved school funding and legislation that would prevent law enforcement officials from cooperating with federal immigration authorities.

“Balanoff, the union’s president, said no endorsement is planned soon. He urged the state’s umbrella organization for organized labor, the Illinois AFL-CIO, to also take a wait-and-see attitude. Elements of labor already aligned with Pritzker have been pushing for an early endorsement.”

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