CTU Vice President Jackson Potter says one-on-one interactions with voters can make all the difference in a close election.

Photo of Jackson Potter with a raised fist during a CTU strike rally.

Every time I am about to head out canvassing, I have doubts. Will people answer their doors? Will they take a few minutes to listen? Will it make a difference in who they vote for or the issues they prioritize?

On almost every occasion, my misgivings have been misplaced. My door-to-door outreach has been overwhelmingly positive. During the holiday season, I found canvassing to be the perfect antidote to the lull in activity and purpose that dominates my work life.

When I went to knock on doors over the holiday break, I felt the adrenaline and meaning of why this activity matters. While in a section of Ukrainian Village, on the city’s near northwest side, I was able to have a range of conversations about the relationship between public safety and fully funded schools.

Almost all voters, regardless of whether they had children in the public schools, agreed when I said that the CTU’s mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson and our aldermanic candidate Lori Torres both believe our city must invest in young people and their communities in order to address the root causes of violence. There is no amount of money we can spend policing if we zero out pre-k and school budgets.

Voters were generally encouraged to listen to me when they heard our candidates are public school teachers and dedicated to the neighborhoods in which they live and have raised their families. Even though most people had not heard of Brandon — or Lori or Mueze for that matter — a vast majority expressed an interest and enthusiasm for supporting them come election time.

I guarantee that these one-on-one interactions make a difference and, in a close mayoral contest likely to have a slim margin of victory, every vote counts. The next mayor will dominate the CPS board until 2027. The next mayor will negotiate our next contract and determine whether policies such as parental leave or anti-violence initiatives are applied equitably across the city and schools.

With Brandon Johnson as mayor and Lori Torres and Mueze Bawany in the City Council, we can make history and advance equity and justice in our schools and our city. But they need us out in the streets, knocking on doors, talking to friends and strangers alike to make that happen.

I hope sharing my experience will encourage and inspire you to get out and knock on some doors for CTU’s transformational ticket. Volunteer at ctulocal1.org/volunteer.

Jackson Potter is CTU Vice President and an intrepid door knocker.