WESTMONT – By a vote of its Executive Board today, the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) endorsed JB Pritzker for Governor in the Democratic primary election.
Elected leaders of the 100,000-member organization supported Pritzker for his commitment to strengthening public education and services, respect for workers’ rights, support for a progressive tax system, and ability to undo the damage done by Governor Bruce Rauner.
“On behalf of our Executive Board and 100,000 members across Illinois, we are proud to endorse JB Pritzker for Governor,” said Dan Montgomery, IFT President and a high school English teacher. “For two decades, JB has been working to advance early childhood education, expand school breakfast programs, and fight back against bigotry and hatred. As Governor, we know he will continue standing up for our students from their first day of school through college graduation.
“Unlike Bruce Rauner, JB respects workers and wants to work together to find solutions to our state’s problems. While Rauner made deep cuts and caused a crisis, JB believes that to increase funding for our schools and services fairly, Illinois needs a progressive income tax where the wealthy pay at a higher rate than those who can least afford it.
We’re confident that JB, along with his running mate Juliana Stratton, will put working families first and put Illinois back on track.”
The IFT’s endorsement comes after months of extensively vetting candidates and gathering member input. Candidates submitted questionnaires, participated in interviews with elected leaders, and attended meetings with locals across Illinois. The statewide union and several local affiliates also surveyed members to better understand the issues that mattered most to them heading into Election 2018.
“I’m so proud to receive the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the 100,000 teachers, paraprofessionals, higher education faculty and staff and public employees they represent,” said JB Pritzker. “Every single child in Illinois deserves a quality public education no matter their zip code. It’s time for a governor who works hard for our students, listens to and respects our teachers and makes fully funding public schools a priority. Unfortunately, Bruce Rauner has decimated public education in our state, forcing five public universities to downgrade to junk status and it’s time for new leadership in Springfield. I look forward to working with IFT members to strengthen public education and services in Illinois and ensure strong neighborhood public schools in all of our communities. I’m proud to support the labor movement and the rights of IFT members to collectively bargain and retire in dignity.”
Endorsements for other statewide offices and legislative races will be forthcoming in early 2018. The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) is made up of more than 100,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees. The Executive Board represents all constituencies and includes officers and 40 vice presidents elected from nearly 400 locals and councils throughout Illinois.
The IFT is a state affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and AFL-CIO.