Local leaders and community organizers rallied behind the opponent of State Rep. Ken Dunkin (D-Chicago) in Illinois' 5th district.
Juliana Stratton garnered the endorsements of several politicians, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Secretary of State Jesse White and several Chicago aldermen, SEIU* Healthcare, AFSCME Council 31 and the Chicago Teachers Union Thursday afternoon at an event held on the city's South Side.
"Ken Dunkin turned his back on our families and our neighborhoods when he sided with Republican Governor Bruce Rauner," Stratton said. "He's decided to stand with his million-dollar campaign donors instead of our families. I'm standing with local leaders who speak up for our families. As the Dunkin Rauner agenda jeopardizes the rights of workers and the services our families rely on, it's more important than ever that we stand together to make the voices of our community heard."
Dunkin drew the ire of many state residents and politicans who say the state rep defied his constituents and party priorities when he failed to vote for legislation that would have rolled back funding cuts Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner made to the Child Care Assistance Program and senior services. This week, Dunkin received a $500,000 campaign contribution from the Illinois Opportunity Project (IOP), which has ties to the GOP and "promotes public policy solutions rooted in economic liberty and the leaders who advance such solutions," according to the organization's website.
"IOP decided that a substantial financial commitment is warranted to support State Rep. Ken Dunkin against the onslaught he is facing from House Speaker Mike Madigan and his public sector union allies in the March primary election," reads a statement by the group.
"Rep. Dunkin has consistently shown independent thinking and provided support in policy areas of critical importance including: (1) protecting honest, adversarial collective bargaining between the governor and public sector unions representing state employees, and (2) ending the discrimination against children based on their household income and address when it comes to the primary and secondary schools they may attend," the statement continues. "Dunkin's support for certain structural reforms well predate the election of Gov. Bruce Rauner. For example, in 2010, Dunkin voted for the school choice legislation (SB 2494) sponsored by then State Sen. James Meeks. We hope Rep. Dunkin's example of acting in furtherance of his constituents rather than toeing the party line established by Speaker Madigan will be followed by more of his colleagues in the House."
Stratton supporters who were scheduled to attend Thursday's endorsement event include: Chicago Alds. Brian Hopkins (2nd), Pat Dowell (3rd), Leslie Hairston (5th), Roderick Sawyer (6th), Michelle Harris (8th) and Brendan Reilly (42nd), Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis and Father Michael Pfleger.
* The SEIU Illinois Council sponsors this web site.