Here is why Chris Kennedy will lose: These guys want to do everything with our pensions but pay them.

Personally invested in the largest defense contractor in the world.

Here is why Chris Kennedy will not get the Democratic nomination to run against Bruce Rauner.

Well, maybe not the only reason.

But one reason.

He is one of these guys who has all kinds of ideas about what to do with the teachers’ retirement pension except how to pay the damn bill the state owes us.

Teachers hate that.

Remember Ira Silverstein?

Before he got in trouble for sending inappropriate emails to female lobbyists, his idea was to punish by excluding them from state pension investments any companies that signed on to BDS, a campaign of divestment and economic boycott of Israel.

It passed unanimously in the Illinois legislature. The same legislature that for 70 years underfunded the pension system.

But Ira Silverstein had an issue with BDS. So he used our retirement savings to pursue it.

Democratic governor candidate Chris Kennedy on Tuesday called for state pension funds to pull investments in gun and ammunition companies, and he criticized primary rival state Sen. Daniel Biss for not raising the idea first.

I’m thinking Senator Daniel Biss didn’t think of the idea first because the last time Senator Daniel Biss came up with an idea about state pensions it was stupid and unconstitutional.

I have moved on but – and trust me on this – I have teacher friends who will never vote for Daniel Biss for anything because of his self-admitted pension mistake.

Never ever.

Coming up with an idea first doesn’t make the idea a good one.

Chris Kennedy can’t pull state pensions from anywhere because it’s not his money. Not now. Not ever.

That money is ours – the retired public employees of the state. The investment of that money is directed by a board of trustees, some of whom are elected by the retirees and the active employees.

As in the case of BDS and Ira Silverstein before he got caught harassing women, the legislature can direct the trustees. But why should they? How would this not turn our pension system into a political football for everyone with an issue to go after.

Here’s what I say: Invest our retirement savings wisely.

Some state pension systems have come up with a socially conscious code of ethics for investment. I’m good with that.

But cherry picking issues?

Do it with your own money.

And why aren’t they talking about paying the hundred billion dollar liability the state is in arrears to TRS and the pension systems? Isn’t that the pension issue Chris Kennedy should be talking about?

Incredibly, Biss responded to Kennedy with the wrong answer.

Biss campaign spokesman Tom Elliott dismissed the critique as “just another ridiculous political stunt by the Kennedy campaign.”

But he said Biss would support the divestment from gun and ammunition makers, “just like he supports divesting the pension funds from dirty energy.”

 What the hell happened to the idea of elected officials passing laws and regulations about guns and dirty energy?

 The legislature seemed to have a problem even passing an anti-bumpstock law.

 But political opportunism and micro-managing our pensions comes easy when you’re running for office.

 By the way.

 Big Tobacco. Big Oil. Casinos. The largest defense contractor in the world. And the developer of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Those are just some of the hundreds of investment portfolio areas Democrats J.B. Pritzker and Chris Kennedy list as part of paperwork they were required to file to run for governor.

Hey, Chris Kennedy. And JB. You know what matches up really well with the evils of gun manufacturing?

Personally investing in the largest defense contractor in the world.

Why didn’t you come up with the idea of divesting your personal inheritance in that stuff first?






12 thoughts on “Here is why Chris Kennedy will lose: These guys want to do everything with our pensions but pay them.


      Thank you for your informative article, Fred, “Charter schools become a debate issue in the Illinois Democratic primary for governor,” reviewing Pritzker & Rauner’s major interests in charter schools. In fact, each has had a charter school named after them.

      A look at the site, reveals that Biss, like our Chicago Mayor, has indeed taken substantial funding from a group that supports charters. In fact, it appears to be over $76,000 from IL Stand for Children, a group that actually seems to seek profits above advocacy for children. (In addition, Paul Vallas & Arnie Duncan, who may seek future positions in local politics, are both responsible for supporting conversions & replacements of public schools to/with charters).

      Biss led a campaign with Elaine Nekritz*–both earning government pensions themselves—to relentlessly attack nurse, state worker, and teacher pensions. Pensions are earned, deferred compensation that help attract quality nurses, workers, and teachers to educate our children. Illinois career teachers do not qualify for Social Security. Although Biss has claimed he made a mistake, he expressed intentions as recently as February, to continue his attacks.

      He bought into the 1 percent’s game of displacing public anger onto our teachers & public employees over their pensions, rather than being honest about our financial problems resulting from corporate greed, government pension holidays, fiscal mismanagement, and the lack of a progressive tax system. People then got jealous of teacher & public employee pensions, but the truth is that we all deserve a pension, and unions & pension programs were two of the major things maintaining the middle class.

      It has been documented that charter schools are being used as parts of investment portfolios. Charters drain significant public tax monies and resources away from public schools that are struggling to survive. Illinois was not headed toward bankruptcy before we had privatization parasites. In addition, charters often compromise our democratic principles of providing a free and appropriate public education for all students from kindergarten through high school. (Don’t be fooled by the fact that many public school systems have subsumed charters under the “public school” category).

      The only top gubernatorial candidate without ties to charters (as far as I know) is Chris Kennedy, who appears to express a greater emphasis on “public education.” Kennedy wants to ensure each and every Illinois child a free, quality education beginning at preschool.

      Those of us who yearn for a restoration and preservation of truly public education run by the people and for the people are likely to cast our votes for Chris Kennedy at the Tuesday, March 20th primary. Paper ballots are preferable on election day. Your vote matters!

      People First

      *Elaine Nekritz, friend of the Steans family—Senator Heather Steans, who sponsored the Illinois Charter School Commission which has failed children by overruling local school board decisions

      1. Jeez. Do you have such little respect for me and my readers that you would just copy and paste this thing as a comment?

      2. Kennedy also said he was open to taxing pensions. Then he denied he said that. Then he said Illinois should not hire a liar as governor.

    1. Perhaps. But there should be no confusion about it. If am wrong it is because he has not been clear. And this recent stuff about investment is disingenuous.

  1. I’m making a generic comment. I won’t badmouth any Democrat at this time because I want Democrats to win across the board. Everyone makes promises they will never keep. I’ve heard talk about a progressive income tax for years. Kennedy wants that too, but until we actually have one, he wants it supplemented with the Massachusetts version, which skirts around dealing with an amendment and brings in revenue indirectly. I’ll let you look that up yourself. Once our beloved politicians get down to Springfield, I/we then hear “it can’t be done, so let’s forget it for now,” until they’re running again. No one will ever answer why 73% of public corporations in Illinois don’t pay any state income tax. Their only answer is, “they’ll leave.” As co-founder of the Coalition to Restore Democracy, we were able to get a non-binding resolution to overturn Citizens United. So, how come, in a supposedly Democratic state, we were not allowed to put a binding resolution on the ballot? You tell me. Illinois has the strictest rules for allowing resolutions on the ballot that don’t come from the party head honchos..

    Back to Kennedy: I despise charter schools. They sap the blood out of our taxes and give little in return except to the CEO’s without any real accountability for curriculum, teacher certification, and where the money is going. Kennedy claims he’s for a free excellent public education system from preschool through college–and alternative trade schools like in Great Britain for those who are better suited to head in that direction. He wants equal funding across the state for all our children and less reliance on our property taxes to fund schools. He wants an end to Berrios-style “special” property deals with big-time attorneys, like Madigan’s law firm, and its very wealthy and expensive property clientele. I strongly believe we are losing billions because of that political game. Will it happen? Will the system change. Who knows, but Kennedy does believe in working to plug that hole. Kennedy also owes nothing to Madigan. We need to end his choke-hold on the state. We may be a Democratic state, but nothing is happening to make us proud of that. So, what do we have to lose by forcing him out.

    Kennedy’s for ending the school-to-prison pipeline. Considering the violence he and Ra Joy have personally encountered, I think he will make that a priority. For those of us already retired, he will leave our pensions in tact, and sit down with everyone involved who will be affected by pensions in the future. There’s much more in his platform that I personally feel strongly about and I urge everyone to read it My coalition, The People’s Choice Coalition, did a lot of research on our first three choices, then narrowed it down to Kennedy. We don’t have a perfect candidate, but I think Kennedy owes his loyalties to himself, his family, and the people of Illinois. I think his integrity and honesty is very important to him. BUT, it’s our job to make sure that once any of our candidates get elected, we not go back into our silos and automatically expect anything good to happen in Springfield. We need to be on the phone calling our elected officials (and Washington), marching to Springfield when they forget who voted for them, and at this very critical time in our history, remind them again and again that they work for us and we expect them to work their hardest to fulfil what they ran on. And on the biggest problem, our budget I, personally, feel we need to redo the lottery rules and put the proceeds back into the general fund, and come up with other very creative thinking or we’re not going to have a state. Last time: Kennedy cares about the future of our state and has to answer politically to no one, except us.

  2. Fred, Thank you for printing my comment of March 15th. However, I do not appreciate the way you distorted the topic. It should have been titled, “WHY WE NEED KENNEDY.” While it’s clear this is not your view, I would appreciate it if you would show the integrity to correct the title so as not to mislead your readers.

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