The race for governor and local primaries.
Back in the Spring we were once again engaged in a fight to protect our contractual and constitutionally guaranteed pension rights. In the Illinois House legislators, mostly Democrats, were voting for Senate Bill 1. It was a bill that would break our pension contract and would violate the pension clause of the Illinois Constitution.
As an electoral response many of us were hoping for two things:
- Every legislator, particularly Democratic House members, who voted against the rights of state employees would find themselves “primaried” by a pro-labor candidate.
- The state’s labor unions would unite behind a gubernatorial candidate who supported fair taxation and increasing revenues rather than cutting social programs and pension benefits.
I’m glad to say that here in the 39th House District on Chicago’s Northwest side we have a candidate who is challenging the incumbent House member. Toni Berrios, daughter of Cook County Assessor and Democratic Party boss Joe Berrios, voted for SB1. She is being challenged in the Democratic primary next March by Will Guzzardi. Guzzardi is part of an electoral movement in the city that is intended to, as CTU President Karen Lewis said, “change the political landscape of the city.”
Guzzardi is supported by the two Chicago Alderman in his district: Alderman Scott Waguespack and Alderman John Arena.
Guzzardi has attracted progressive supporters from across the District that will win the House seat in the 39th.
As far as the race for governor goes, things look bleak.
In the Democratic primary, only Governor Squeezy remains following the withdrawal of Lisa Madigan, Kwame Raoul and Bill Daley.
Governor Squeezy has declared that he was born to cut pension benefits. He has not seen a proposed pension cutting bill he has refused to support.
On the Republican side the hatred for unions and pensions is even more virulent.
Certainly, no union representing state employees could support any of the current choices.
Where is labor’s candidate? Why hasn’t the We Are One coalition of state public employee unions found a candidate who believes in raising revenue rather than cutting workers’ benefits in one of the lowest taxing, lowest spending states in the country?
In the Spring I suggested that Ralph Martire, head of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, be drafted.
It is late. But not too late.
Hi Ralph,My name is Todd Mertz, and I am a high school business education teacher at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville. As you know, the candidates for the 2014 gubernatorial race are atrocious, and the public knows it. We need someone like you, someone who knows finance and understands how to get Illinois back on fiscal track without breaking constitutional contracts with public employees.You have made a great name for yourself, and you are very well-respected by many. We would love to see you run for Governor. Many of us believe that you would have a good chance of winning. I am sure the unions would back you and all of the state’s public employees and their friends and families – that is a lot of people right there. Quinn has no primary challenger. What do you think? I believe you would have a lot of support. Todd Mertz (and many others)Todd,Thanks for the kind words—I’d actually be happy to do it, however the $ involved is somewhat prohibitive—If you can hook me up with some major donors, I’d be all ears. There’s also the little thing of petition signatures, and time is running out for that as well. Peace.Ralph M. Martire
Cinda and IEA Team:
I contacted Ralph Martire, and he said he would run for Governor if the money was there.
Do the Unions have enough to support a campaign? Illinois is full of democrats (Chicago helps). People hate Quinn – teachers, public employees, and everyone else. No one is challenging Quinn as of right now.
I see a lot of potential here. I strongly believe that it is in our best interest to pursue this. Our profession, our pensions, our schools, and our communities could be in MAJOR trouble should any of the Republicans (or Quinn) win the election.
We would need money and signatures.
I firmly believe that we need to do everything possible to avoid becoming Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, or Indiana, which is what will happen if we don’t bring a candidate forward.
Is this something that the IEA could do?
I look forward to hearing from you.
[Contact your unions and tell them what you think]:
Illinois Education Association
100 East Edwards Street
Springfield, IL 62704-1999
Illinois Retired Teachers Association
620 N. Walnut St.
Springfield, IL 62702
Phone: (217) 523-8488
Fax: (217) 523-8493
Email: email@example.comAmerican Federation of State, County, Municipal Employee
205 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60601
www.afscme31.orgIllinois Federation of TeachersP.O. Box 390
Westmont, IL 60559
Phone: (630) 468-4080
Toll Free: (800) 942-9242
Fax: (630) 468-4089
We are One Illinois is an unprecedented labor coalition working on behalf of over 1 million statewide members to protect public employee pensions. We Are One Illinois coalition members include the Illinois AFL-CIO, Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, AFSCME Council 31, Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Service Employees International Union, Laborers International Union of North America Midwest Region, Illinois Public Pension Fund Association, National Pension Coalition, United Transportation Union, Laborers International Union of North America – Chicago District Council, AFSCME International Union, National Education Association, Fraternal Order of Police – Lodge 7 Chicago, Fireman’s Association of Chicago – Local 2, Illinois Nurses Association and Teamsters Local Union #700.