Ill. 26th District State Rep. Race Starting to Boil
Ill. State Rep. Christian Mitchell (Dist.-26) is keeping busy these days rounding up as many heavy weight endorsements as he can. And that’s exactly what he should be doing because his competitor Jhatayn “Jay” Travis is picking up steam.
Travis, who has worked as a community organizer and non-profit professional for over 20 years called in the big guns this week. On Monday, she landed endorsements from Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis, U.S. Congressman Danny Davis (Dist.-7th), 10th Ward Ald. Sue Garza and 42nd Ward Ald. Brenden Reilly.
“I'm deeply honored to have these endorsements…,” Travis told the Chicago Citizen Newspaper. “ I first ran for this office two years ago because people in the neighborhood had been asking me to consider running for years. We forged a powerful, committed grassroots network of supporters in that race that came very close to beating one of the most well-funded campaigns of its type in the nation. I also watched the incumbent do nothing while we were battling locally to keep our neighborhood public schools open, supporting the hunger strikers at Dyett High School, and seeing our communities continue to be shortchanged by both the Mayor's office and Springfield.”
Fighting back, Mitchell picked up a key endorsement from the Statewide Teachers Union this week and several other labor unions had already given him the nod including Chicago Federation of Labor, AFSCME Council 31, SEIU Illinois State Council, the Illinois AFl-CIO, UFCW Local 881, IUOE Local 150, IUOE Local 399, the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local 130 and the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2.
And Mitchell does not seem a bit worried about Travis’ new batch of endorsements.
“The great thing about political campaigns is that anyone is free to endorse anyone they want to,” he told the Chicago Citizen Newspaper. “I’m really focused ultimately on the most important endorsement which is the endorsement of the people of the 26th District of the State of Illinois.”
Mitchell, who is the incumbent, is being labeled as a “Rauner” Democrat by Travis and her supporters.
“The incumbent has been branded a “Rauner” Democrat for sharing elite donors and a political agenda with the Republican governor that they say hurts retirees, schoolchildren, parents, educators and working families,” a released statement from the Travis camp reads.
The statement goes on to say that Mitchell is “a two-term incumbent who’s taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from school privatization groups, anti-labor groups and hedge fund billionaires, supporting a series of anti-labor and pro-privatization bills.”
“It’s ridiculous. My record speaks for itself. I’ve voted against the governor 95 percent of the time,” Mitchell said in regards to Travis’ claims. “I’ve voted to override 100 percent of his vetoes. Much of the work I’ve done over the last year has been to organize phone banks and write-in campaigns at some of our senior buildings against some of the things the governor is doing and I have been endorsed by a wide swatch of labor organizations who are certainly no friend of the governor’s.”
Mitchell also distanced himself from Ill. Gov. Bruce Rauner saying in a released statement in regards to the STU’ endorsement, “I’m grateful for their support, and I look forward to continuing our work together in Springfield, particularly our fight against Governor Rauner’s attacks on organized labor.”
According to Travis, the Prairie District Neighborhood Association and the Communities Organized to Win organizations are planning candidate forums/debates for the 26th District and she plans to attend.
When asked if he is open for a public debate with Travis, Mitchell said, “I’m certainly open to one, absolutely. It’s always good to talk directly to the voters about the issues that matter.”
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