CHICAGO — Reclaim Chicago is backing a slate in the state's March 15 Democratic primary that includes presidential, Illinois General Assembly, Cook County state's attorney and Chicago Ward Committee candidates.
Reclaim Chicago is supported by National Nurses United ( NNU ), the nation's largest organization of registered nurses, and The People's Lobby, an organization of grassroots political activists. Candidates backed by Reclaim Chicago went through a rigorous process to gain its endorsements. Following up its earlier endorsements of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders for president and Kim Foxx for Cook County state's attorney, the group is also sending its volunteer army in to support:
Omar Aquino, candidate in the state Senate 2nd District; State Reps. Will Guzzardi, D-39, and Christian Mitchell, D-26; candidates for Illinois representative, Teresa Mah, 2nd District, and Juliana Stratton, 5th; and candidates for Chicago ward committee, Ald. Sue Sadlowski-Garza, 2nd, Ald. Carlos Rosa, 35th, Dianne Daleiden, 40th, and Alderman John Arena, 45th.
In last year's campaign, Reclaim volunteers helped elect 10 progressive Chicago aldermen, protecting seven incumbent progressives who were under attack and electing three new voices to the City Council, all willing to stand up for their wards, even if it means speaking out against the mayor.
All candidates seeking the group's support were required to fill out a questionnaire in advance and answer follow up questions during a face-to-face interview with Reclaim Chicago's endorsement committee.
"We are looking for lawmakers who share our vision and whose life experience illustrates bold leadership and a commitment to progressive values," said David Hatch, executive director of Reclaim Chicago. "The people we endorse have an effective plan to win their race and have made a commitment, when they get elected, to be leaders on economic and social justice issues and work with us on issues of importance to our communities."
Those issues include support for:
* Fair elections: Public financing of Chicago elections;
* Fair taxes: A progressive state income tax structure, a moratorium on corporate tax breaks, closing corporate loopholes and a LaSalle Street tax;
* Living wage: A $15-an-hour minimum wage;
* Workplace democracy: Collective bargaining rights for all workers;
* Public schools: Adequately funding public schools and opposition to privatization of primary and secondary education;
* No private prisons: Continuing the moratorium on operating private prisons in Illinois;
* Climate action: Aggressive action to end the use of fossil fuels;
* Choice: Protecting women's reproductive rights; and
* Health care: Access to paid sick days and meaningful health and mental health services.
Sanders has the backing of NNU, a union and professional organization for registered nurses with 185,000 members nationwide, 6,000 of who work in Illinois. The union has mounted the BERNIE BUS to support a cross-country tour and spur local events on behalf of the Vermont senator. The bus will be in Chicago March 3-4 and March 12-15. #BernieBus
In backing Foxx, Reclaim has committed to canvasses spanning from the North and Northwest suburbs all the way into the South suburbs, on behalf of her primary election campaign. The endorsement signifies Reclaim's support for Foxx as "an experienced prosecutor who can restore the public's trust in the State's Attorney's office," NNU Midwest Director Jan Rodolfo said.
"We've seen the kind of harm that can be done to public trust in our justice system when the county's head prosecutor favors incarceration rather than treatment for drug addiction and mental illness," Rodolfo said. "Current State's Attorney Anita Alvarez is the person most directly responsible for the mass incarceration of large numbers of people of color in our county, yet she is reluctant to prosecute crimes perpetrated by police officers."
The issues guiding the state's attorney endorsement include:
* Fair bail procedures: Dismantling of the current money-based bail system, to be replaced with a bail-requirement system reserved only for individuals possessing the means and motives to avoid trial and/or deemed to be a serious threat to public safety;
* Juvenile justice: Reforming the county's juvenile justice system;
* Racial justice: Providing more transparency in the investigation of police misconduct and in the system of "deferred prosecution," which now adds to the disproportionate incarceration of African-Americans and Hispanics; and
Drugs: Advocating for decriminalization of drug use.
About Reclaim Chicago
Reclaim Chicago is a people-led movement devoted to reclaiming our city, county and state governments from the grip of corporate interests and the very wealthy. Reclaim Chicago put thousands of volunteers into the streets, on the phones and hosting house parties during last year's city elections. www.thereclaimcampaign.org .
About National Nurses United
National Nurses United, with 6,000 Registered Nurses in Illinois and 185,000 members across the country, is the largest union and professional association of RNs in the U.S. www.nationalnursesunited.org .
About the People's Lobby
The People's Lobby is a membership organization devoted to fighting for a fair economy and a just society. www.thepeopleslobbyusa.org .