The Tribune’s March 13 editorial, “Why are Illinois unions spending so much on a GOP race?” answers its own question. Teachers and other public employees, like all citizens, have a keen interest in the outcome of this election.
While we don’t have Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner’s billion dollars or his sense of entitlement, each and every one of us has just as much right to participate in the democratic process. Many public employees and retirees choose to do so through their union.
Ours are not Democratic or Republican organizations. We are advocates for strong public services like good schools, safe streets and care for the most vulnerable. We stand for the interests of every citizen who relies on and provides those services and for the betterment of all working people in our state.
We make endorsements irrespective of party affiliation. For decades, we have recommended Republicans for statewide office, including Judy Baar Topinka, Illinois State Comptroller; Jim Edgar, former Illinois governor; Jim Thompson, former Illinois governor; and now, Kirk Dillard, Republican candidate for governor.
The Tribune editorial board may wish the making of public policy was the sole purview of CEOs and the 1 percent, or the ".01 percent," as Mr. Rauner describes himself while shamelessly advocating to lower the minimum wage.
But the hundreds of thousands of working people who make up the Illinois Education Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees know it is in the best interests of all to have a voice in their future.
Unlike Rauner and this editorial page, who seem to delight in demonizing the teachers and workers who make up our organizations, Dillard fights for public education, respects public employees, and plans to work together in partnership for a stronger Illinois.
That is why the members of our unions are urged to support Dillard in the Republican primary for governor.
— Henry Bayer, Executive Director, AFSCME Council 31
— Cinda Klicka, President, Illinois Education Association
— Dan Montgomery, President, Illinois Federation of Teachers