CHICAGO - Today, a coalition of progressive organizations, including Sierra Club Illinois, SEIU, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, Equality Illinois, Illinois Coalition Against Handgun Violence, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights ( ICIRR ), UFCW 881, Chicago Votes and Citizen Action Illinois came together ahead of the next gubernatorial debate to jointly outline a bold progressive agenda and to announce a major mobilization program in the closing weeks of the election season.
The newly formed Forward Illinois coalition detail how new polling data shows nearly 70 percent support across party lines for a bold progressive agenda that protects abortion rights, raises the minimum wage to $15, strengthens firearm restrictions, protects our environment, expands access to quality, affordable healthcare, protects LGTBQ rights in schools and protects immigrant families. Additionally, the polling indicates that candidate support for the agenda increases their support among the electorate by as much as 7 points.
The coalition represents more than 250,000 member activists across Illinois. Between now and November 6th, the coalition will contact and mobilize more than half a million Illinois voters around this agenda through an aggressive campaign including phone banking, door knocking, and a digital engagement strategy via text, email, and social media. The groups also delivered hundreds of new voter registration forms following the presser, adding to the nearly 26,000 delivered thus far.
"These extraordinary times call for bold solutions if we are to make Illinois a healthier, more prosperous, more just state we can be proud of, and voters are looking for leaders who will enact these policies," said Jack Darin, Director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter. "These solutions benefit all of us, so we're all in it together to embrace a better future and move Forward Illinois."
"At Planned Parenthood our fight goes beyond health care," said Jennifer Welch, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action President & CEO. "The intersections of health care, immigration, economic justice, and worker rights are all elements of reproductive freedom. In order for people to have reproductive freedom they need to be able to make their own decisions about their reproductive lives and live in societal structures that support their agency."
"As a member of SEIU, I've been fighting for $15 and union rights for all working people, and now, we're coming together with the groups here today to combine all of our priorities into one agenda," said SEIU security officer Yolanda Piper. "Across different backgrounds and racial lines, this agenda - which protects women's rights, immigrant rights, workers' rights, environmental rights, LGBTQ rights and more is what the voters I'm talking to are responding to."
"As Chicago Votes talks to young people in the city, we have learned the message of "Go Vote" doesn't work. It is disingenuous and transactional," said Executive Director of Chicago Votes Stevie Valles. "We are seeking solutions to real problems that plague our communities and voting alone won't get us there. We believe that setting an agenda, advocating for that agenda and holding elected officials accountable to that agenda is a path forward. As members of this strong coalition our vision is an Illinois that leads the country in preserving a clean environment, treating immigrants as humans, taking restorative measures to empower people in the criminal justice system, funding public education, paying workers livable wages, respecting the LGBTQ community, and supporting women's reproductive health."
"If you want to create voter enthusiasm, you have to give voters a positive agenda to vote about. We must unite around the issues we care about," said Citizen Action Illinois Director William McNary. "The Forward Illinois agenda is bold, popular and will motivate Illinois voters statewide."
More information can be found on the coalition's website, ForwardIllinois.org .
—From a press release