AFSCME volunteers help propel winning campaigns
With spirit, determination and shoe leather, AFSCME members and retirees played critical roles in March primaries where candidates friendly to working families prevailed. The power of grassroots volunteers outweighed the unprecedented amount of money that Gov. Rauner and his allies poured into legislative races, and winning candidates expressed thanks for the countless hours volunteers put in to make a difference.
Juliana Stratton, who overwhelmingly defeated the Rauner-backed state Rep. Ken Dunkin in Chicago, sent her “deep appreciation to all the AFSCME volunteers that made calls, knocked on doors and helped at the polling places. You were there right from the beginning and up to the amazing end. I look forward to working arm-in-arm with you on the many challenges facing Illinois working families.”
In central Illinois, incumbent Sam McCann’s solid record of supporting public-service workers and retirees meant that AFSCME stood by his side against an avalanche of attacks from Rauner’s hand-picked opponent.
“I’m honored and proud to represent all working people,” McCann said in his victory speech on election night. “I will never vote to take a working person backwards down the ladder. I’m proud to have that opportunity and proud of the votes I’ve taken.”
Rep. Chris Welch, the chief sponsor of the fair arbitration bill (HB 580), echoed that message. “I am proud to be a champion for working families in Springfield,” he said, “and I look forward to battling against the attacks on unions and the middle class in our state. I am particularly grateful to AFSCME members who volunteered in recent weeks—it was critical to my strong victory.”
AFSCME volunteers also helped Omar Aquino beat Angelica Alfaro, a charter school proponent, in the 2nd Senate District in Chicago. “My thanks to AFSCME members for all their support and their help on Election Day,” Aquino said. “It will be an honor to represent working families from this district in the State Senate.”
With AFSCME’s support, Cristina Castro scored a big upset in the 22nd Senate District in Kane County. And in the 72nd House District in the Quad Cities, union members helped bring home a win for AFSCME-endorsed candidate Mike Halpin.
“We absolutely could not have won this race without AFSCME,” Halpin said. “AFSCME members at the doors and on the phones provided the core of our grassroots campaign. I’m really proud to have the support of a union that goes the extra mile fighting for working families.”