Why Did Karen Lewis Endorse Chuy Garcia?
By Jim Vail
|Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia|
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis told the media that she endorses Chuy Garcia for mayor of Chicago.
What she didn't tell the media, is that she does not make endorsements. That right is reserved to the delegates, as she reminds many of us during contentious debates on supporting machine democrats.
Lewis and her fellow officers who lead the third largest teachers union in the country is always proud to say they have a democracy where the schools' elected delegates vote on political endorsements, resolutions and other important matters.
When I asked Lewis to not endorse any democrats in the next election because they voted to gut our pensions, she said she doesn't make endorsements, it is the delegates.
According to the CTU's rules, it is the political committee that makes a recommendation to endorse a particular candidate, and then the executive board makes its own recommendation for an endorsement. The recommended endorsement is then brought up at the House of Delegates for the delegates to debate and vote on.
That is how Gov. Quinn got his CTU endorsement. It came after a rigorous debate on the pros and cons of supporting someone who just recently signed anti-pension legislation and is running with anti-union extraordinaire Paul Vallas.
It is supposedly the fair and democratic thing to do.
Lewis has told others that she has only made a personal endorsement. This is very problematic thinking when Lewis represents the Chicago Teachers Union whenever she speaks in public.
Second City Teachers asked the CTU's public relations chief Stepahanie Gadlin why president Lewis is telling the public she is endorsing a candidate who many teachers do not even know.
The CTU has not responded to Second City's questions. This is the email I sent to Gadlin:
This is Jim Vail. I want to ask why Karen Lewis has endorsed Chuy Garcia. What is the CTU's position on this endorsement? It is the HOD that makes endorsements and Karen is on record that it is only the delegates who make endorsements.
Also, I believe it is the CTU's position that endorsements are not made until candidates are on the ballot. At least, that is what is being told by Stacy Gates to delegates when it comes to endorsing candidates, including teachers, who are running for aldermen.
First and foremost, many delegates will probably be asking at the next House of Delegates meeting this Wednesday, who is Chuy Garcia?
He is a commissioner on the Chicago Cook County Board and is part of a Latino progressive faction that includes alderman Ricardo Munoz and former City Clerk Miguel Del Valle, who ran for mayor last time but did not get a CTU endorsement.
While Munoz has been a big supporter of CTU initiatives and supporting public schools, he has also been a big supporter of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The CTU hosted a debate in the last mayoral election four years ago, but the delegates did not endorse any candidate.
The leadership decided not to back any candidate when there were several candidates to replace Mayor Daley after 20 years at the helm.
One question some delegates may ask is why is progressive mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti not considered?
Fioretti has been to many CTU functions, and been a part of a pro-union coalition in the city council. He first started hanging around Core meetings before Core even won the election.