MAR 09, 2023
News in brief: Vallas notches second endorsement from former mayoral contender as Johnson touts latest labor endorsement
Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and Cook County Comm. Brandon Johnson (D-1) each added to their lists of endorsements on Wednesday, with Vallas picking up support from a second former mayoral candidate and Johnson notching support from a large labor union.
SEIU LOCAL 1 ENDORSES JOHNSON — Cook County Comm. Brandon Johnson (D-1) landed a major labor endorsement Wednesday. Service Employees International Union Local 1, which represents 45,000 workers such as janitors, security officers, airport workers, faculty at colleges and universities and food service workers, announced it was backing Johnson in the runoff for mayor against opponent Paul Vallas, the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools. Johnson, a former Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) organizer, launched his campaign last fall with the CTU’s endorsement and had picked up other labor endorsements ahead of the Feb. 28 election including SEIU Local 73, SEIU Healthcare Illinois, the American Federation of Teachers and Illinois Federation of Teachers. “[Brandon’s] vision for Chicago is one that ensures every working family – regardless of ZIP code or race – has access to affordable healthcare, a liveable wage, quality education, and safe communities to raise our children,” SEIU Local 1 President Genie Kastrup said in a news release. Johnson, in a statement, said he was “honored” by the endorsement and added the union’s members “are people whose livelihoods are centered around helping others, so we must protect and uplift them with the same urgency by upholding workers’ rights, fighting for fair wages, and ensuring workers are safe and supported on the job.” Johnson was also recently endorsed by Ald. Andre Vasquez (40), who originally supported U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-Ill.) for mayor, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.).
WILSON BACKS VALLAS — Businessman Willie Wilson on Wednesday announced his support for former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas in April’s mayoral runoff. The endorsement came just over one week after Wilson finished in fifth place out of nine candidates running to be Chicago’s top executive. Wilson ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2019 and backed Mayor Lori Lightfoot in the runoff. During a news conference Wednesday at Wilson’s penthouse, Vallas called the endorsement “an absolute privilege” and said he considers Wilson a close friend. “Willie has always given all that he has to the community, and that says a lot about the man,” Vallas said. In endorsing Vallas, Wilson said he’s the candidate who is best suited to improve public safety. “Paul has a long history of working closely with the Black community and his plans to invest in neighborhoods that have been neglected for too long is impressive, and he will do it without imposing new taxes that will drive away companies and jobs,” Wilson said in a news release. “We all consider public safety to be a human right,” Vallas told reporters Wednesday. “Wherever you live in Chicago, you should be entitled to the opportunity to live in safe and secure neighborhoods.” It’s the second failed mayoral candidate to endorse Vallas, who also got Ald. Roderick Sawyer’s (6) endorsement earlier this week. Vallas is also endorsed by former Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Ald. Walter Burnett (27), who had originally backed Lightfoot in the Feb. 28 election.
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