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Time to end corporate cronyism, giveaways to wealthy elites, institutional racism and lethal austerity of Daley, Emanuel and their rich business backers.

CHICAGO—CTU President Jesse Sharkey issued the following statement today in response to news that hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin has dumped another million dollars into the mayoral campaign of Bill Daley.

“Billionaire Ken Griffin has backed some of the nation’s most reactionary candidates, pouring close to $40 million into the campaign coffers of reactionary privatizer Bruce Rauner, aggressively backing union-busting right-wing Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, and helping bankroll the campaigns of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who Griffin infamously said should have closed more schools in 2013, despite the devastation and displacement those school closings caused for our students and their families.

“This is a critical mayoral election that will determine if city leadership will respond to the needs of our city’s Black, Brown and working families—or continue to leave them in the dust as the last two mayors have. The Chicago Teachers Union’s House of Delegates endorsed Toni Preckwinkle in this election because she said yes to a partnership to secure racial, economic, social and educational justice for Chicago’s residents. President Preckwinkle has embraced the principle of fully funded neighborhood public schools and an elected school board to at last provide the accountability and transparency that parents, students and residents deserve. She has committed to be a partner in preserving and improving public education in our schools. Ken Griffin bankrolls candidates and elected officials who want to privatize public education, hand over public funds to wealthy private corporations, bust unions of educators and public workers, and dismantle public institutions on which hundreds of thousands of Black and Brown Chicago residents rely.

“Elections are about choices and contrast—and there is no stronger contrast than the choice between Daley and Preckwinkle. Griffin’s support for Daley is built on Daley’s embrace of corporate privatization, a free ride for wealthy corporations, and education policies that defy fairness, economic equity and educational justice for our students. That agenda has been a disaster for our city and our residents—and it must end.

“The CTU has fought mightily in the last decade to lift up the need for educational equity for our low-income Black and Brown students—an initiative that President Preckwinkle embraces and that Griffin and Daley would gut. President Preckwinkle has committed to ushering us into the next phase of the battle for real educational justice for our students—particularly on Chicago’s South and West Sides, where institutional racism, multi-generational neglect and corporate cronyism have undermined neighborhoods for decades.

“Griffin’s support for Daley tells us all we need to know about Daley’s real agenda—one that would continue the failed neo-liberal policies of austerity and racist dispossession that Emanuel and his predecessor, Bill Daley’s brother, have pushed. We can elect a champion of the public good in Preckwinkle—or we can perpetuate the appalling polices of Emanuel in Daley III. Chicago doesn’t need another tool of wealthy elites—and that is precisely what Griffin and Daley are trying to choke down voters’ throats.”

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at www.ctulocal1.org.