The Illinois Education Association, a teachers union that represents 133,000 educators around the state, predictably gave their endorsement to Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, on Friday.
IEA President Ken Swanson believes Giannoulias, over Kirk, will champion the cause of public education in Illinois. Swanson especially supports Giannoulias’ call to raise state taxes in order to assist education.
Education in Illinois, as well as the nation, is in peril. Giannoulias has no qualms about his tax proposition. Plans to raise taxes are usually met by extreme dissatisfaction with voters.
“Alexi Giannoulias shares our belief that America will only remain strong if we invest in our next generation, that means the teachers have the resources they need to succeed,” Swanson indicated.
Needless to say, support has to come any way it can in order to save schools that have not been bailed out from federal dollars awarded recently by President Obama. Illinois schools need more than a quick fix; certainly school leaders are looking for effective long-term solutions to their deficits, teacher lay offs, high turnover rate, large class sizes, and lack of resources.
Traditionally, the teachers union has endorsed more democrats in previous elections.
During his Congressional runs in the past, Republican Mark Kirk has received the union’s backing three times in eight years.
Not this time, though. And, not this time for other organizations that have jumped on the Giannoulias band wagon for this closely contested, hot Senate race.
Planned Parenthood, the Human Rights, the League of Conservation voters, in addition to the Sierra Club have publicly offered their support for the democratic senate hopeful. Kirk had the backing of these groups in previous elections.
Giannoulias, who has been campaigning in southern Illinois, points out he is a candidate that is true to his word. Steady moving forward to capture that empty senate seat, the candidate is quick to point out that his republican opponent has switched positions on several issues.
For some, this has created a lack of confidence in Kirk. Giannoulias cites Kirk is a proponent of environmental issues, however changed his views on one important environmental initiative. Add to that his pledge to help teachers, but layoffs occurred; a documented pro-choicer, voting against health care reform to cover abortion; all quite possibly leaving voters confused on where he really stands with important issues.
Both candidates are rolling full steam ahead, making appearances in and around the state; Kirk is scheduled to join the Mexican Day Parade on Saturday. Giannoulias makes a stop at Earth, Wind and Energy LLC, for a news conference on 9/11.
In about a month and a half voters will cast their ballots in an unusual double election, (read more here), to complete President Obama’s term, then begin their own six-year stint in Springfield.
See Giannoulias campaign video here.
suntimes.com, associatedcontent.com, youtube.com