Press Release

AFT President Weingarten on Today's Chicago Election

For Release: 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Emilie Surrusco
202-879-4134; 202/341-8787 (cell)

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on the results of today's election in Chicago.

"Runoffs carry a special message for re-elected leaders: Voters are willing to give them a second chance. Tonight Mayor Emanuel was given that chance by an electorate that is willing to believe his humbled promise that 'he can do better,' but does not want him to forget that education policies have to change.

"Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia ran a principled and spirited campaign on behalf of the children, the families and the citizens of Chicago's forgotten neighborhoods. He became the standard-bearer for hard-working Chicagoans who want good jobs and safe neighborhoods with thriving, not closed, public schools.

"The mayor now has a chance to reverse some of the damage felt by neighborhoods in Chicago. As we congratulate him tonight, we urge him to start by reinvesting in the communities he unnecessarily gutted by closing schools he could have chosen to fix and make the hub of neighborhoods.

"He can start tomorrow by pledging to meet with KOCO, the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, the Chicago Teachers Union and others—working with them to identify and foster the services the neighborhood needs for kids and families. And speaking of CTU and UIC United Faculty, we urge him to start working with, rather than fighting with the educators of this great city.

"Across the nation, cities are increasingly returning to their role as this country's economic engines: In Chicago and elsewhere, we must collaborate to compete, for our cities, our schools, our economy and our children to thrive.

"We are still watching the aldermanic races, but between the plebiscite on an elected school board and a number of new seats held by pro-public-education policymakers, Chicago will be governed by a different and more pro-public-education legislature."

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.