CTU wants to elect 'freedom fighter' Jay Travis to the Illinois General Assembly

On February 24th, of 2009, I camped out in front of the Chicago Board of Education to protest school closings. The temperature was below zero, bitterly cold and there were few people willing to brave the elements at that time in our fight against school closings. That sleepless night was not just inhospitable but down-right miserable. However, there were a number of freedom fighters, not least among them Jay Travis, then Executive Director of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, who were willing risk life and limb for the cause.

Jay Travis campaign poster.Jay Travis is now running to become the state representative for the 26th District. Just last week, the Chicago Teachers Unions House of Delegates voted to give Jay an early endorsement. She was the only candidate in a contested primary to receive that honor, so far. The early CTU support for Jay is well deserved.

Long before the union was sounding the alarm or raising questions about the harmful impact of school closings, Travis was camping out to fight them. On that cold day in February, Jay camped-out overnight to ensure that she could speak out at the Board of Education meeting the following day about the destructive consequences of Renaissance 2010. Without allies like Jay, the CTU could not have developed a city-wide resistance to school destabilization, budget cuts and charter proliferation. Her leadership at KOCO, helped to create a model for community labor partnerships that is now being emulated across the country. Stay tuned and plan to volunteer for this exciting and historic campaign. We rarely get a chance to elect true champions from our movement. Now is the time!


December 18, 2013 at 2:04 PM

By: Rod Estvan

The party primary

I think it is important to note that the CTU's endorsement which Jackson Potter calls an " early endorsement," is also an endorsement of the Democratic Party because the union is asking its members in the 26th Illinois Representative district to vote in the private primary of the Democratic Party. When I say private primary I am not joking or making things up.

State Law at 10 ILCS 5/7-2 defines the "political parties" that can have ballot status for primaries in the State of Illinois. This includes the 5% of the vote provision, meaning that no party that does not generate at least 5% of the total vote "of the entire vote cast in the State, is hereby declared to be a political party within the State. . ."

So effectively no start up party can possibly use the primary system in Illinois to garner interest in its candidates.

But there is more in State law, there is this deadly provision:

"Provided, that no political organization or group shall be qualified as a political party hereunder, or given a place on a ballot, which organization or group is associated, directly or indirectly, with Communist, Fascist, Nazi or other un-American principles and engages in activities or propaganda designed to teach subservience to the political principles and ideals of foreign nations or the overthrow by violence of the established constitutional form of government of the United States and the State of Illinois."

So let us be clear here, what Jackson Potter is discussing is far more than an "early endorsement" he is asking the CTU membership including members who might consider themselves to be associated with "un-American principles" to participate in a primary process that explicitly would exclude any political party they might identify with.

What a strange position for the supposedly radical CTU to be taking.

Jay Travis may be a wonderful candidate well worth supporting in the general election assuming the voter, especially a teacher, can bring themselves to vote for a Democrat given the pension vote and many other votes that were clearly not in the interest of working people promoted by that party.

Only a short while ago in Substance I read comments questioning labor's ties to the Democrat party given what has taken place in the last few years. Maybe, the CTU should have considered promoting Jay Travis to run in the 26th Illinois Representative district outside the existing parties as defined under state law. Maybe running in something that might be called a labor party. Oh I forgot that might be "un-American."

Rod Estvan

December 24, 2013 at 12:19 AM

By: Ed Hershey

Karen for Mayor?

A related comment:

On WBEZ's Afternoon Shift on Friday, Eric Zorn, Niala Boodoo and Neil Steinberg discussed Karen Lewis as a possible mayoral candidate. Not to make too much of it, but they seemed to take her seriously as a plausible candidate.

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