Neighborhood Electoral Uprising Forces Emanuel Into Runoff

Success of Progressive Candidates Points to Growing Political Movement of Chicago Working Families

CHICAGO –(ENEWSPF)—February 25, 2015. Voters turned out across the city to vote their values, showing strong disapproval for Mayor Emanuel’s corporate agenda of school and clinic closings, budget cuts, privatization, and neighborhood disinvestment.

“Rahm’s $30 million war chest couldn’t beat our army of dedicated volunteers, and our collective determination for a unified city that values all its neighborhoods, not just downtown. When there’s a strong movement of working families mobilized around the issues that impact their lives, the power of people can beat the power of money.” said Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Illinois Action.

In addition to endorsing Jesus “Chuy” Garcia for Mayor, Grassroots Illinois Action endorsed 23 aldermanic candidates, 14 of which who won outright or will be advancing to a runoff election. A full list of GIA endorsed candidates can be found on www.takebackchicago.org/endorsements.

In order to help build independent neighborhood political power GIA has established ward level committees to empower community leaders to take part in the political process. One such committee is in the 15th ward, where Rafael Yañez, GIA endorsed candidate and political newcomer, forced a runoff with Democratic Committeeman Raymond Lopez.

“We’ve had enough of elected officials who listen to the Mayor and his downtown buddies instead of the people who live in our community. In this past year, we started to build a new kind of politics in the 15th ward – where our families and our communities matter.  And tonight we won a major battle by forcing a runoff between our endorsed candidate and just another rubber stamp elected official.  And this is just the beginning,” said Marcos Ceniceros of Grassroots Illinois Action.

Also appearing on the ballot in 37 wards was an advisory referendum asking voters if they support an elected school board. Chicagoans clearly articulated their desire for a check on mayoral power over our schools voting an overwhelming 89% in favor of an elected representative school board.

“The message is clear- Chicago residents want democracy in education. We are tired of neighborhood school closures and turnarounds, budget cuts, the proliferation of charter schools at the expense of neighborhood schools, and top-down mayoral control of our school system.” said Abbie Illenberger, Grassroots Illinois Action Field Director.

Grassroots Illinois Action is committed to building long term political power for working families well beyond this election. In the 26th Ward, where Roberto Maldonado narrowly avoided a runoff against GIA endorsed candidate Juanita Irizarry, GIA members are ready to continue the hard work of building the infrastructure to hold elected officials accountable.

“Juanita didn’t make it to a run off but I’m still very proud of what we were able to accomplish. We showed that Maldonado is not king of Humboldt Park- we can run candidates who will listen to our community. We are going to continue to grow what we have built so far so that our community gets the schools, services, and resources we deserve. This was never about one election. We are in this for the long haul,” stated Reyna Luna, GIA 26th Ward Committee member.

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Grassroots Illinois Action is setting out to unite working families in an effort to build real independent political power in and for our communities. We can build the power to elect Progressive champions who will fight for our communities and defeat those who would close schools, cut good jobs, slash human services, and dismantle affordable housing. We can change the political landscape and shift our city and state’s priorities. Together we can pursue a vision that values all of our residents, all of our neighborhoods.

Source: www.grassrootsillinoisaction.org