Hancock Teacher Runs Again Against City Machine for State Senate
By Jim Vail
|Hancock High School Teacher Froy Jimenez is running for State Senate.|
Hancock High School Teacher and former Chicago Teachers Union PAC leader Froy Jimenez is running once again for 1st District State Senator.
The former CTU strike captain did not get the CTU endorsement to run against long-time State Senator Tony Munoz even though the Teachers Union had encouraged its members to run for political office. CTU perhaps did not believe he could win and instead decided to not endorse either candidate in the last election. Froy earned 38% of the vote despite not having the official backing of his union.
In a move typical of corrupt machine politics, Jimenez's petitions are being challenged by his opponent Javier Cervantes who is the son-in-law of the former State Senator who decided at the last minute to retire. This is a typical move when the incumbent backed by the city machine has plenty of money to hire lawyers and challenge signatures against any independent candidates challenging their power.
"The political games incumbent politicians play to get their chosen candidates to succeed them is a mockery of the political process and an ugly way to circumvent our democracy that ultimately limits the people's choice," said Jimenez who teaches civics and serves on the Local School Council at Hancock High School on the Southwest Side.
Jimenez filed 4,686 nominating petitions as an independent, over the 3,000 signatures needed. The Chicago Board of Elections is now conducting a detailed examination of the signatures to determine how many are valid. Jimenez defeated a petition challenge the last time he ran.
Froy was born in Mexico, moved to Bensenville as a boy and went to Marquette University on a Chick Evans Scholarship.
Cervantes his opponent worked for 12 years as a union rep for SEIU Healthcare.
Froy told Second City Teachers that it is a shame so many elections are uncontested because you need so much money and connections just to participate in government.
In his last election he faced an opponent with about $1 million while Froy has many volunteers and ran a grassroots campaign.
He represents the Working Taxpayer's Party, an independent group made of working class tax payers not tied to the Chicago Machine. He said Sen. Munoz was connected to the Hispanic Democratic Organization that was created by Mayor Richard Daley. He pointed to the recent conviction of former State Sen. Tom Cullerton who was sentenced to one year in prison after he pleaded guilty to embezzling funds from a labor union
Froy said the CTU made a side deal in the last election even though his opponent never asked for CTU's endorsement. He said there is no reason why he should not get the teacher's union endorsement in the Nov. 8 election.
Froy said he against secrecy in union finances and advocates for laws that separate the union's role and public service that prohibits double dipping. Brandon Johnson is a Cook County Commissioner and a full-time organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union.
The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) has already endorsed his opponent in the race and he thinks it may be because Brandon Johnson sits on the interview committee to endorse candidates.
"They like that I'm outspoken and not a yes man," Jimenez said. "I advocate against the machine."
He said he joined Members First so that there are checks and balances. He said the members need more voices because there is not much dissent in the CTU and not enough attention paid to what is happening in the classroom.
"In a healthy union you should not just be blindly loyal to the leadership," he said. "We need criticism and input from all the membership."
Currently there are no CTU members serving in the state senate. There are CTU members represented in the City Council, Cook County Board of Commissioners and the Illinois State Legislature.