Endorsement should be earned, not given away with political hints at public press conferences

As Chicagoans prepare to deliberate and consider who is to be their next choice for mayor, it is imperative that they consider how candidates are endorsed and if an endorsement from one organization actually represents that organization’s members.

SHARE Endorsement should be earned, not given away with political hints at public press conferences
Brandon Johnson addresses reporters alongside Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates after her speech Wednesday at the City Club of Chicago.

Brandon Johnson addresses reporters alongside Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates after her speech Wednesday at the City Club of Chicago.

Nader Issa/Sun-Times

In response to the Sun-Times report that Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson is favored to be the mayoral choice of the Chicago Teachers Union: There is a big difference between Johnson being the CTU brasses’ pick and him having the full support of the general membership.

The article details Johnson’s expected jump into the mayoral race resulting in an almost automatic CTU endorsement since “to many [it] is a foregone conclusion, given he’s on the union’s staff and is making public appearances with CTU leaders.” An endorsement should be earned and not given away with political hints at public press conferences.

As someone who has previously co-chaired the CTU’s Political Action and Legislative Committee, I can attest that the democratic process to obtain our union’s endorsement involves several steps. It requires careful deliberation by the union’s political action committee and executive board and finally a final vote by the majority house of delegates.

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While it’s evident that our union leaders have clearly decided that Johnson is their personal selection to be the next mayor of Chicago, it is worthwhile to point out that not all CTU members agree.In fact, in the last election for CTU posts, 46% of the membership did not support the current leadership’s political positions. It was one of the lowest margins of approvals in union history.

With that disparity in mind, there are several reasons to be cautious in going along with this pushing of an endorsement and, as a CTU member and taxpayer of Chicago and Cook County, I think it is imperative to at least consider these reservations before nodding along with the CTU leadership’s pick.

It is a fact that Johnson is both a Cook County commissioner and paid organizer of the Chicago Teachers Union. No full-time public servant should be working and simultaneously earning a paycheck as a full-time union organizer.

Taxpayers who go to the polls have the expectation that whomever they elect is not going to clock out of their public duty in the middle of the day and to go to another job. Similarly, union members expect full service and dedication from the people the union employs, and that their hard-earned union dues are going to people who are actively working on their behalf and not punching out and stepping away from their union duties. Both union members and Cook County taxpayers deserve full-time leadership and accountability from the people who work for them.

Simply put, double-dipping is a political tradition that is wrong, especially when it harms taxpayers and union members, and it should not be rewarded. As a CTU member and CPS civics teacher, I would go further to say that our union should serve as a working- class example where our actions promote good government and not questionable political maneuvers.

As Chicagoans prepare to deliberate and consider who is to be their next choice for mayor, it is imperative that they consider how candidates are endorsed and if an endorsement from one organization actually represents that organization’s members.

Froylan Jimenez, Chicago Public Schools civics teacher

Women understand what it means to always be on alert

I was attacked on the train on my morning commute while reading a book in January 2021. I am a young professional adult woman and I was taking the Purple Line to the Loop.

In his op-ed titled “After decades of riding CTA, here’s what I learned about staying safe,” the author says he learned that victims are victims because they want to be. I completely disagree, all the violence I have witnessed on the train have been completely unprovoked and seemingly being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Someone reading on their daily commute is not being a victim because they want to be. Someone looking at Instagram on the train home when their phone gets stolen is not a victim because they want to be. These people are just living their lives. They are not nervous, anxious or skeptical. These are real Chicagoans.

As a woman, you end up looking at the world differently than your male peers. Women who live in a city are required to always be ‘on.’ Women are always aware of their surroundings because they must be. Through my trauma I have met and chatted with other women who share the same sentiment. I was self-aware as much as I could, but it still happened.

To imply that self-awareness and being aware of your surroundings is all that you need to ride the CTA safely is a privilege.

E.J., Lake Vew

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