By CARL GREEN
Chicago, IL – Democratic billionaire J.B. Pritzker’s campaign for governor continues to pick up support from Labor and has added a prominent state representative as running mate.
A new television commercial featuring 10 union members highlights his Labor support, including his endorsement by the Illinois AFL-CIO and members of two important statewide unions – the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois and the Illinois Nurses Association.
Previously, Pritzker had been endorsed by the AFL-CIO and 14 Chicago-area unions, mostly trades groups, represented in the commercial by members of the Plumbers, Carpenters and Laborers.
In the commercial, the union members take turns stating:
“We’re fire fighters, construction laborers, plumbers, nurses, carpenters, food and commercial workers, and we’ve all had enough – enough of Bruce Rauner playing politics, enough of Bruce Rauner attacking unions. That’s why we’re all supporting J.B. Pritzker … for governor. J.B. will stand up for working families, and he’s focused on creating jobs. J.B. is the one we trust to beat Bruce Rauner … and to get Illinois back on the right track.”
Pritzker, a venture capitalist and Hyatt hotels heir, is believed to be the wealthiest candidate challenging Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner, himself a self-funded multi-billionaire. Pritzker’s top opponent in a field that has swelled to nine has been Chris Kennedy, also a businessman and the son of Robert F. Kennedy.
FIRE FIGHTERS’ NOD
The Fire Fighters, representing 15,000 members in 221 local chapters, said in an endorsement
statement that they considered each candidate in light of his commitment to fight for working families.
“J.B. Pritzker has the competence and the compassion to be the governor Illinois working families need, and we are so proud to endorse his campaign,” said Pat Devaney, the Fire Fighters’ president.
“J.B. is committed to lifting up Illinois working families and making sure our economy works for everyone. He has a record of creating opportunity and fighting for quality education for all Illinoisans.”
Devaney said Pritzker stands in stark contrast to the “willful neglect” of Rauner, whom he said “shows contempt” for working families. “Illinois needs a governor who is ready to fix Rauner’s mess, and we are proud to support J.B. Pritzker to lead our state,” he added.
Pritzker said he was proud to receive the endorsement. “Our fire fighters deserve a governor who stands with them, and I will always work to protect the right to organize, fight for safe working conditions and ensure our children have access to high-quality education,” he said. “It is an honor to have our state’s heroes standing with me in this campaign, and I will always stand with them as governor.”
The Nurses Association does not offer an outright endorsement on its website or Facebook page, but it was represented in the commercial by its vice president, Doris Carroll, and she was congratulated on the Facebook page for appearing in it.
The website also features a photo of Pritzker posing with 10 group members, including its four top officers and some board members, when he visited their headquarters in Chicago recently.
On Friday, the Cook County Democratic Party endorsed Pritzker, as did 23 Democratic county chairmen. The St. Clair County Democrats had already endorsed him.
A RUNNING MATE
Last week, Pritzker took another bold step by announcing state Representative Juliana Stratton of Chicago as his running mate for lieutenant governor.
Stratton, already well-known as a judge and mediator, made news last year by running in the Democratic primary and defeating incumbent Ken Dunkin, who had repeatedly foiled party leaders’ efforts to override vetoes by Rauner.
“As lieutenant governor, Juliana Stratton will bring her experience as a judge, criminal justice advocate, state representative and mediator to get things done for the people of Illinois,” Pritzker said.
“Representative Stratton has been serving the public, solving problems and fighting for what’s right throughout her entire career. As the state representative of the 5th District, Stratton fought to raise the minimum wage and protect a woman’s right to choose.”
Stratton has been director of the Center for Public Safety and Justice at the University of Illinois Chicago and was a founding board member of the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center. She graduated with a B.S. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a law degree from DePaul University.
“Tackling the many challenges that face our state won’t be easy, but Juliana doesn’t back down from a tough fight,” Pritzker added. “Juliana has the passion, commitment and grit to defeat Bruce Rauner and get things done for the people of Illinois as our next lieutenant governor.”