Bernie Sanders backs Garcia as ‘voice’ to represent 4th Congressional District

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U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders headlines a campaign rally for Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a candidate for Illinois’ 4th Congressional District, at Apollos 2000, 2875 W. Cermak Rd., on Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 22, 2018. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

To the soundtrack of mariachi, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and a slate of Democratic candidates for state and county offices gathered in Little Village Thursday to support Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia as the “strong progressive” voice need to represent the 4th Congressional District.

The Vermont senator called Garcia a “good friend of mine,” but told the crowd he was not there to support Garcia’s congressional bid out of friendship or because Garcia backed Sanders’ unsuccessful bid for the White House — “although I appreciate that very much.”

“I am here this afternoon because we are living in a pivotal moment in American history,” Sanders said. “We need strong progressive voices in Washington, and Chuy Garcia will be that voice.”

Sanders portrayed it is as “an unprecedented moment in American history,” and told the crowd “one of the important things that we can do in the next few weeks is to make sure not only that Chuy Garcia wins, but that he wins big.”

Attorney General candidate Aaron Goldstein and gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy both made appearances at the rally. Our Revolution Illinois, a political organization that grew out of Sanders’ 2016 run for president, endorsed Daniel Biss for governor. Sanders has yet to name a candidate he supports in the governor’s race.

Sanders aligned himself with Garcia in supporting undocumented immigrants, relieving student debt and fighting against President Donald Trump.

He noted that Garcia was part of a larger progressive movement in Chicago. “We talked about the need to create a political revolution, what I am seeing in Chicago is exactly that,” Sanders said.

“I want to fight for young people, the Dreamers,” Garcia said. “I want to fight against Donald Trump.”

He voiced his support for immigration reform, protection for DACA recipients and free college.

Candidate for Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi was among the speakers, addressing the audience of Southwest Side Chicagoans, saying “black and brown communities pay the highest [property tax] rates in the city.”

Aaron Ortiz, candidate for state representative of the 1st District, said he’s “running against the political machine that has not worked for our community.

Garcia is one of three Democrats running in the March 20 primary in hopes of succeeding outgoing U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez. Also running are Chicago Police Sgt. Richard Gonzalez and La Casa Norte executive director Sol Flores. The winner will run against Republican Mark Wayne Lorch in November.

Candy Valenzuela, a student at Daley College, said she works as a member of student government to make voting accessible.

“I believe in everything [Chuy] stands for, at my college there’s a lot of people that are undocumented,” she said.


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