Lewis endorses Garcia. Garcia endorses an elected school board. I should leave town more often.

karen lewis crop

Karen Lewis endorses Chuy Garcia.

I leave Chicago for a couple of days and things sure get interesting.

Yesterday CTU President-on-leave Karen Lewis endorsed Chuy Garcia for mayor.

And at a CTU dinner, Garcia endorsed an elected school board and criticized Rahm for his school closing policies.

Garcia has not to my knowledge expressed support for an elected school board before now. But the race to be the progressive standard bearer has caused all kinds of shifts and rethinking.

That has been the error in thinking that too many candidates helps Rahm.

If the strategy to beat Rahm is to increase turnout, focus on Rahm’s tale of two cities disastrous policies and no circular firing squads among progressives, then this has been a good couple of days.

The other leading progressive candidate is Alderman Bob Fioretti. Bob is already on record for an elected school board and has been vocal in opposition to the the Mayor’s school closings.

Maybe I should stay away longer.

Here’s part of the Sun-Times story:

Speaking publicly for the first time since she underwent brain surgery, Karen Lewis appeared in a video Friday thanking Chicago for its “support, love and … best wishes,” promising to “remain encouraged and focused in the days ahead” — and endorsing mayoral challenger Jesus  “Chuy” Garcia.

The fiery Chicago Teachers Union president, who had all but announced her campaign to challenge Rahm Emanuel, bowed out from the race after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

That apparently hasn’t put a stop to her battle against Emanuel.

Speaking calmly and clearly in short sentences and wearing a headscarf, Lewis said, “I am convinced the city is going in the wrong direction” and that it needs “real leadership that is both accountable and accessible.” 

“Chicago needs a mayor who has the moral courage to do what’s right for all of the city,” she said. “That is why I am throwing my full support behind Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia.”

“Chuy is a committed and faithful public servant and has been for the last 30 years,” she said in which she addresses the camera straight on and in profile.

“Chuy is a consensus-builder and a man of the people. If he is elected as mayor, I know he will work for all of our citizens, not just the corporate elite and the special interests who seek to privatize our public assets. Chuy is the right leader for the right time to move our city forward. South Side, West Side, North Side, everybody — let’s support the bigger man.”

In a separate video, played to a crowd of 600 at the CTU’s Legislators and Educators Appreciation Dinner Friday at Plumbers Hall in the West Loop, Lewis repeated the endorsement for Garcia and added praise for Gov. Pat Quinn.

“We cannot forget that Pat Quinn is the best choice for governor of Illinois,” Lewis said.

Garcia, a Cook County commissioner, was the keynote speaker at the dinner, where Quinn also made an appearance.

When Garcia spoke, he said that he had visited with Lewis that afternoon and described her as “one of the best warriors that Chicago has experienced in over a generation.”

Garcia called for an elected school board and said “instead of closing schools we believe we ought to build new schools.”


5 thoughts on “Lewis endorses Garcia. Garcia endorses an elected school board. I should leave town more often.

  1. Within a few hours of the end of the CTU LEAD dinner, there was an explosion of anger at the Garcia “endorsement” since it was represented, as I’ve reported, in two press releases on CTU logo as if it were an endorsement from the union. We have been reporting that story in several stories at http://www.substancenews.net (we’re not a blog so don’t enjoy all those blogger links) going back in history. My analysis is that a small number of people led the public (and most of the media) to believe that the Chicago Teachers Union was endorsing Chuy Garcia for mayor, and any honest reading of the pre-LEAD publicity leads to that conclusion. The anger since that became the narrative line of the corporate media has resulted in some interesting hair splitting. But the fact is that within the last five days before LEAD, decisions were made (love that passive voice) to (a) have an endorsement for Chuy Garcia and (b) make Chuy Garcia the effective keynote speaker at LEAD, while (c) letting Governor Pat Quinn (who was actually endorsed by CTU by a vote of the House of Delegates) and Alderman Bob Fioretti (who has stood with the CTU in every fight over the past five years, dozens and dozens of times) sit there while another guy gave the “keynote” and really looked to most people like the “endorsed candidate” for mayor of the CTU.

    The democracy thing is always a challenge, and it’s sad when anyone does an end run around the back of that. The CTU has some fairly clear traditions of only doing candidate endorsements after a discussion in the House of Delegates.

    Most recently, we are reporting that in 2010, six months after CORE won the leadership of the CTU, the union waited until after the candidates had been certified to be on the ballot and then hosted a Candidate’s Forum for all union members. That led to discussion among the members and at the House of Delegates on who the union would support in the 2011 mayoral election. Although many many of us supported Miguel Del Valle at that time, a smaller but powerful faction was backing Carole Mosely Braun, so the end result, with some parliamentary stuff, was “no endorsement.”

    The CTU Executive Board meets Monday, to set the agenda for the House of Delegates (of which I am a member) which meets Wednesday.

    There are no real candidates for any municipal office in Chicago until after November 24, which is the deadline for submitting nominating petitions. That’s why in 2010 the CTU forum was held in November and all candidates were invited (including Doc Walls). The only one who didn’t show up for the forum (chaired by Cliff Kelley) was Rahm Emanuel.

    We will continue to report on the news as it evolves in the next couple of weeks. At substancenews.net, “Back Issues” can take anyone interested to the month and year of those events. December 2010 and January 2011 are very interesting parts of the history of the Chicago Teachers Union. Our Home Page updates on the first of each month, and each previous month is stored, completely, in “Back Issues.” For those who know some of the chronology, it makes it easy to scroll around and locate lots of reported stuff.

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