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IFT members act locally to score important election wins *UPDATED*

4/22/2015
UPDATE: With final ballots tallied, IFT member Susan Sadlowski Garza was elected Chicago's 10th Ward Alderman in a very close race. 

The collective action of IFT members in locals and councils across the state yesterday helped to secure critical election victories for our communities and those we serve at a time when we need it most.

In the midst of Governor Rauner’s attacks on workers’ rights and middle-class families in the form of so-called “local empowerment zones” (aka “right to work”), IFT members stepped up and fought back to make their voices heard in yesterday’s election. By endorsing supportive candidates for school board, forming community and parent partnerships, and working tirelessly to get out the vote by canvassing, making phone calls, having one-on-one conversations, sending mail pieces, and more, we undeniably made an impact in the fight to defend and improve education, vital public services, and our neighborhoods across Illinois.

Getting involved in elections matters. Here’s how.

Chicago
The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), Local 1 made an historic push for progressive candidates for City Council and Mayor, working with community allies and progressive organizations to find and support candidates devoted to giving Chicago’s students the schools they deserve.

While the mayor’s race dominated the headlines, IFT Executive Vice President and CTU President Karen Lewis noted that what happened might not be reflected in the numbers.
“This has got to be the start of a movement … this can’t be about one election, one election cycle. If that movement builds, things will change."
IFT President Dan Montgomery echoed her sentiment about this monumental contest:
“Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia assembled a diverse coalition of community partners and ran an aggressive grassroots campaign that made an undeniable impact in Chicago. While he didn’t defeat Rahm Emanuel, he was the first mayoral challenger to force an incumbent into a runoff election in Chicago, and the IFT was proud to endorse his candidacy. He changed the conversation and inspired everyday Chicagoans to stand up and speak out, as did our largest local, the Chicago Teachers Union, who helped lead the fight for change....


We congratulate Mayor Emanuel on his victory, but implore him to learn the lessons from this race: working people from neighborhoods all across the city want respect, fairness, and a voice. That’s why the call for change was realized in many aldermanic races, through the work of CTU members and others, and it must be heeded…”
President Montgomery’s complete statement is available here.

In other important Chicago races, CTU/IFT member Susan Sadlowski Garza’s race for City Council is still too close to decide. (Every vote matters! At the time of this writing, she is leading by just SEVEN votes!) CTU endorsed candidates for City Council Toni L. Foulkes, Derrick G. Curtis, Chris Taliaferro, Anthony Napolitano, and John Arena were also victorious last night.

Statewide
From far northern Lake to southern St. Clair County, IFT members harnessed their collective power in races for school board. Since these boards make critical decisions about students, local schools, and those who work in them, electing fair, supportive representatives is crucial to ensuring their decisions are in the best interests of education and the community.

We congratulate the following locals for their extraordinary efforts to elect school board members who will serve their communities well and to oust those members who have proven unequal to the task. Here’s a rundown of many IFT local and council successes:

Lake County Federation of Teachers, Local 504 endorsed Joy Hall, the third highest vote getter for Diamond Lake School District #76 Board of Education, ousting an incumbent. The Local also helped to successfully elect Domingo “Sonny” Garza to the board in Waukegan, District #60 and David A. Northern, Jr. to the Grayslake School Board, District #46.

North Suburban Teachers Union, Local 1274 joined with parents and community activists to form a coalition called Progress 219, which ran a successful campaign to transform the school board. Voters elected three (of four) endorsed candidates - incumbent David Ko, Mark Sproat and Brian Novak.

University Professionals of Illinois, Local 4100 endorsed and supported Local 4100 member Tiffany Stoner-Harris in her successful bid for re-election to the Rock Island/Milan School District #41 Board of Education.

Rock Valley College Faculty Association, Local 6211-endorsed candidate Ashley Burks was the highest vote getter of six candidates seeking open seats on the Rock Valley Community College District #511 Board.

Peoria Federation of Support Staff, Local 6099 and Peoria Federation of Teachers, Local 780 worked with community coalition Change 150 to endorse Dan Adler, who was elected in a landslide, garnering an impressive 52% of the vote in a five-way contest.

Champaign Federation of Teachers, Local 1925 endorsed four candidates for  Champaign Unit School District #4 Board and successfully elected the three top vote getters - Kathy Shannon, Kathy Richards, and Chris Kloeppel.

O’Fallon Classroom Teachers Association, Local 628 endorsed and successfully elected Mary Baskett and Becky Drury for O’Fallon Consolidated Community School District #90 School Board.

O’Fallon Federation of Teachers, Local 3939 helped to successfully elect their two endorsed candidates, Brandt House and Donna Johnson.

Granite City Federation of Teachers, Local 743 endorsed two candidates for local school board and both - Bill McMasters and Carolyn Yates - won.

The Kankakee Teachers Council and Kankakee Paraprofessionals Council of AFT Local 604 endorsed and helped to elect candidates to every open seat on their local school board. The union-endorsed winners were top vote getter and newcomer Angela Shea, as well as Karen Johnston-Gentry and Barbara Wells.

Orland Park #135 Council of AFT Local 943 endorsed three candidates and helped all of them secure seats on the Orland Park School Board. Winners were Joe LaMango, Greg Okon, and Angie Sexton.

Also in AFT Local 943, the Evergreen Park #124 Council successfully helped to elect union-endorsed candidate and newcomer Sean Hynes to the SD #124 School Board to replace a retiring member.

The Lockport Fairmont Council of AFT Local 604 supported two school board candidates who were the top vote-getters in the election. Eight members helped canvas the community to distribute fliers.

“I am so proud of our members across the state,” added President Montgomery. “These tremendous victories are great examples of what we can achieve when we come together, roll up our sleeves, and work for change at the local level. It all starts there, and it’s how we win.”

Let’s keep it up! If you have a success story to share, please contact Jennifer Visk at jvisk@ift-aft.org.




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