Saturday, January 17, 2015

Alderman Interview

CTU Endorsed Alderman Candidate Speaks to Second City Teachers
By Jim Vail

Second City Teachers spoke with 11th ward candidate Maureen Sullivan, who was just endorsed this week by the Chicago Teachers Union, by the delegates. The union's political action committee had recommended the endorsement of her opponent, Mayor Richard Daley's nephew John Daley Thompson. The delegates rejected this endorsement and instead endorsed Sullivan.

Newly endorsed CTU 11th ward alderman candidate Maureen Sullivan .

Can you tell us about yourself. What job do you have now? 

I own a pet services and products business. For ten years I have been visible in the community, leading Clean And Green public health events, championing economic redevelopment, leading our parks (Palmisano Park Advisory Council President) leading our schools (elected LSC member, McClellan) and creating popular festivals centered on science education, fishing and kite flying (Bridgeport Air And Water Show).

Why are you running for Alderman?

I was drafted by the people of the 11th Ward to represent their interests in the City Council. The working families of our community have had no representation for many years.

What is wrong with the current alderman?

Jim Balcer, who is stepping down, was a Daley appointee seventeen years ago and a rubber stamp for both the Daley and the Emanuel administrations. His concern level for our streets and our people was effectively nil. He did not lift a finger during the fight to keep our public elementary schools open, a fight led locally by teachers and by myself.  My major opponent, Patrick Daley Thompson, a Daley nephew, is cut from exactly the same cloth as Balcer: he shares office space with Jim, he believes that business runs this city (has said exactly that in a direct quote in his Sun-Times questionnaire), and is a proponent of charter and private schools, an un-elected school board and vouchers.  

What is your platform? What needs to change?

I run on a solidly progressive platform including participatory budgeting, economic revitalization that benefits the people of the 11th Ward, not just the politically connected, the building of a new centrally located public high school, and advocacy of an elected school board. The people of Chicago have to stop leaving government in the hands of people who roll over to corporate pressure every time.  My platform is at

What do you think of public education?  How can it be saved?

I am an LSC member at McClellan elementary. The notion that educating children is a job best left to people with no background in education is a ridiculous and damaging trend that must be stopped. Restoring democracy to the Chicago Public School Board by having it be an elected body is the first step back toward sanity. We must reject management fad culture being sold as education and we must admit that a neighborhood's prevailing economic conditions will drive a public school's outcomes. I will always vote along these lines in the City Council.

Have you received any endorsements?

Northside Democracy For America, The People's Lobby / Reclaim Chicago / National Nurses United (Now the Chicago Teachers Union)

Can you tell us about your interview with the PAC committee of the CTU? What questions did they ask you?

The interview ended in applause.  They asked my position on an elected school board, what the biggest issues in my neighborhood are and how I had worked with CTU members in my community organizing and campaign. The PAC committee was undoubtedly made aware of my positions.

What is it like to run for alderman?


Do you really think you can make a difference in this system rigged with money?

Elect me Alderman, and I will not only reject the endless line of pay-to-play corporate lobbyists who plague City Hall, but when public education falls under attack from unqualified neoliberal "reformers" who pretend that cherry-picking students through selective admission means something other than manipulated statistics, I will shout it from the rooftops. People need to understand what is going on.

What do you think of the democrats?

Democrats are very often to my right. I do stand with Democrats who do not waver in their principles to protect working families, including the City Council's Progressive Caucus led by Alderman Bob Fioretti. 

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