Southwestern Illinois Central Labor Council issues endorsements

MAKING THEIR PITCH to the Southwestern Illinois Central Labor Council (SWICLC) at a meeting earlier this month were (front row, from left) Richard Vernier, state Rep. LaToya Greenwood, Appellate Justice Judy Cates, with SWICLC President Scot Luchtefeld, and (back row, from left) Kenneth Sharkey, Kinnis Williams Sr., state Sen. Chris Belt, Rick Watson, Andrew Lopinot, Tom Holbrook. – Labor Tribune photo

As political candidates enter the homestretch before the Nov. 8 election, Illinois Labor organizations are issuing their endorsements.

St. Clair County candidates spoke to the Southwestern Illinois Central Labor Council in early October, requesting endorsements and touting their records of supporting Labor causes as they stressed the importance of the midterm election.

  • St. Clair County Clerk Tom Holbrook said he had been coming to the council for five decades, including his nine terms in the state House of Representatives. “I always ask for your endorsement and truly in my heart I appreciate it,” he said.
  • State Rep. LaToya Greenwood (D-East St. Louis) said that to lift up Illinois, they need to focus on creating access and opportunity and a pipeline of equity. “I am a staunch union supporter,” Greenwood said. “I will continue working with union leaders to make sure the decisions we make in Springfield continue to move us forward and not backward… It’s clear where I stand and where I continue to stand.”
  • Appellate Court Justice Judy Cates pointed out that of the judges who voted to let AFSCME workers keep their pension, she is the only one left who approved. The appellate court is the most important court in the region for Labor, she said, because they make decisions including workplace safety, pensions and so on. “I can make you this promise: I won’t let you down,” she said.
  • State Sen. Christopher Belt (D-East St. Louis) called it “the most consequential election in our lifetime,” pointing to the upcoming Workers Rights Amendment which requires a 60 percent majority to pass.
  • Kinnis Williams Sr., candidate for St. Clair Circuit clerk, agreed.

“Everybody needs to get out the vote,” he said. “We don’t care who you are or where you come from, we need your support.”

Other speakers included St. Clair County Board candidates C. Richard Vernier and Kenneth Sharkey; St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson and St. Clair County Treasurer Andrew Lopinot.

The council issued its official endorsements on Oct. 11. The list included all those who spoke at the candidate forum, as well as all Democratic statewide candidates including Gov. JB Pritzker; state Senator Kris Tharp; and state Reps. Katie Stuart, Jay Hoffman and Greenwood.

The council also endorsed St. Clair County Assessor Jennifer Gomric Minton; county board candidates Jerry Dinges, Susan Gruberman, Robert Trentman and Joel Funk; judicial candidates Kevin Hoerner and Patrick Foley; and Monroe County candidates Sonja Madlinger and Patrick Kelly.

Only Democrats show for candidate forum

Edwardsville, IL – When the Edwardsville League of Women Voters and NAACP chapter co-sponsored a candidate forum in early October, the only candidates who showed up were Democrats.

The League is a nonpartisan organization and issued invitations to all candidates running the local races. However, none of the Republican candidates chose to attend, and Circuit Judge candidate Barry Julian had strong words for the other candidates who didn’t appear.

Likewise state Rep. Katie Stuart said she was “disappointed” that not everyone chose to attend.

“This is one of our few opportunities to discuss issues,” she said.

Stuart pointed to her record focusing on closing loopholes protecting sexual predators, supporting women’s rights to control their reproductive health care, fighting elder abuse and more.

“I know we can continue to make Illinois a better place for everyone,” she said. “I’m always striving to make the metro-east a better place to live, work and raise a family, and I hope to be able to keep doing so.”

State Sen. Kris Tharp said he was the first person in his family to go to college and a lifelong union member as a police officer. “I know what it feels like for a family to decide whether to buy a prescription or pay for groceries,” he said. “I’ve stood in line for powdered milk and government cheese… and I’m grateful for that. I don’t know where my family would have been without that help.”

Tharp vowed to support investment in infrastructure, railways, highways and more opportunities for union jobs. “The best work force in the country is right here,” he said.

Madison County Clerk Debbie Ming Mendoza reiterated her commitment to free and fair elections, keeping the voting machines detached from the internet and relying on paper ballots in a mechanical tabulator to ensure a proper vote count.

“I work hard every day and take a lot of pride in making sure that our hard work in the county clerk’s office makes voting easier for you,” Ming Mendoza said. “If I don’t have your trust right now, I will work to gain that trust.”

Other speakers included judicial candidates Ryan Jumper and Ebony Huddleston.



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