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Chicago election a victory for working families

Yesterday, IFT-endorsed mayoral candidate Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia

forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel into a runoff election in Chicago. Mayor Emanuel could not secure the 50%-plus-one votes to win his re-election outright. This is unprecedented in Chicago, the first time the city has seen a mayoral runoff election.

“Money can only buy you so much. If you don’t have the support of the people, you can’t win. It’s a beautiful day for democracy when that’s the truth,” said Kristine Mayle, Chicago Teachers Union Financial Secretary.
“Yesterday’s election in Chicago was a victory for all working people,” said IFT President Dan Montgomery.  “I’d like to congratulate our endorsed candidate, Chuy Garcia, for forcing the Mayor into a runoff election and spurring a robust debate about the future of Chicago and its families in the weeks ahead. IFT Local 1, the Chicago Teachers Union, and their community allies must also be commended for organizing successful campaigns across the city and unquestionably making their voices heard on numerous fronts.” 

AFT President Randi Weingarten weighed in as well.

"In Chicago, this election showed a real yearning for a mayor who listens to working families,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “They want good jobs and safe neighborhoods with thriving, not closed, public schools. And Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia—as well as landslide support for an elected school board—became the standard-bearer for this aspiration.”

The momentum for more community voice spread through city council races as well. 
 “Three courageous IFT members – Tara Stamps, Sue Garza, and Tim Meegan – also stepped up, ran for office, and forced powerful incumbent Aldermen into runoffs. They were able to do this not with more money than their opponents, but with the strength that comes from rank-and-file members and neighbors making calls, knocking on doors, and doing whatever necessary to change direction in those wards,” Montgomery added.

Chicagoans also voted for more democracy. For the past twenty years, the Mayor of Chicago has appointed all members of the Chicago Board of Education. After twenty years of failed education reform, voters elected – nearly unanimously –  to take that power back.

“Chicago is on its way to ending two decades of one-person rule over the schools,” said Montgomery. “A staggering 90% of voters approved an advisory referendum to move Chicago schools from an appointed board to an elected one. It’s going to be a long road ahead, but the campaign cleared a major hurdle and demonstrated the community's overwhelming support for a democratically elected school board that represents them.” 

Last night’s results show the power of solidarity. We need to approach all of our challenges like this – together as one. It’s the only way to win.

Click here to read Garcia’s full election night remarks.



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