After thorough screening by the CTU’s Political Action and Legislative committees, approval by the CTU’s Executive Board, and final ratification by the CTU House of Delegates, the Chicago Teachers Union proudly announces its early endorsements for the 2022 election season for the candidates listed below.
As CTU President Jesse Sharkey said, “These current elected officials and candidates are champions for key CTU issues, such as restoring our bargaining rights, creating an elected school board in Chicago, increasing school funding, regulating charter school operators, and supporting pandemic relief efforts like COVID sick days for educators and rent and mortgage support.”
As the CTU’s legislative and political director, I’d also like to encourage you to make a contribution to the CTU’s PAC, which is crucial to advocating for the legislative and political priorities of CTU members and ensuring that those priorities are the priorities of elected officials in Congress, the Illinois House and Senate, the Cook County Board, and other branches of federal, state, and local government. If you are already a contributor to the CTU’s PAC, thank you!
Please also keep your eyes out for ways to get involved in supporting these candidates in their election efforts — talking with neighbors, colleagues, and family members and encouraging them to vote for our champions. Endorsements are as effective as the work we put into them, and our collective interests are best served when we have excellent representation in the halls of power. Note, too, that this year’s primary election is June 28. We’ll be sharing more info about how to vote, where to vote, and early voting.
Thank you for your continued advocacy for our school communities and our union.
US House of Representatives
Rep. Delia Ramirez (D, currently 4th IL House, running for the 3rd US Congressional district)
Delia is a CTU champion. She passed the elected school board bill last year and also led the General Assembly’s work on pandemic housing supports. An assistant majority leader in the Illinois House, Delia would be the first Latina elected to Congress from Illinois. The IFT has early endorsed Rep. Ramirez. Illinois’ 3rd Congressional district covers the NW side of the city and suburbs stretching from the Chicago city limits west to Elgin and West Chicago.
Sen. Omar Aquino (D, 2nd Senate District)
Sen. Aquino is a long-time CTU ally whose district includes West Town, Humboldt Park, Hermosa, and Belmont Cragin. Sen. Aquino is a CPS alum, the chair of the Senate Labor committee, and a key force in passing our bargaining rights and elected school board bills. He won election to the Senate in 2016 by beating an employee of Noble Street Charter Schools.
Sen. Mike Simmons (D, 7th Senate District)
Sen. Simmons represents the far North Side and north lakefront of Chicago, including Rogers Park, Edgewater, and Andersonville. He is a supporter of the elected school board and was the chief sponsor of a bill in the last session to outlaw racist dress codes in Illinois schools that enact limitations on students’ hairstyles, in particular those that have specific racial, ethnic, and religious importance.
Sen. Ram Villivalam (D, 8th Senate District)
Sen. Villivalam represents parts of the 39th and 50th wards on the Northwest Side and parts of the suburbs. He is a former staffer for SEIU Healthcare and has been a key CTU ally in the Senate. He was a chief co-sponsor of the elected school board and bargaining rights bills and is a member of the Senate Progressive Caucus. Sen. Villivalam is currently the chief sponsor of a bill to allow members of the CTPF who worked in a private school to purchase two years of service credit.
Sen. Rob Martwick (D, 10th district)
Sen. Martwick of the far Northwest Side has been a longtime CTU advocate, in particular in his role as the chief sponsor, first in the House and then in the Senate, of the Elected Representative School Board bill. Sen. Martwick successfully passed the bill last year. He’s also been a major advocate for progressive revenue, including being the chief sponsor to get the Fair Tax amendment on the ballot in 2020. In his role as the chair of the Senate pensions committee, he passed a law to include teachers at contract schools in the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.
Sen. Celina Villanueva (D, 12th District) – UWF endorsed
Sen. Villanueva represents much of the Southwest Side: Pilsen, Little Village, Brighton Park, McKinley Park, and Bridgeport. She is the chair of the human rights committee and a CTU champion. Besides her support of our bargaining rights and Elected School Board bills, she is the chief sponsor of our bill that would require neutrality agreements with charter schools to prevent hostile, anti-union campaigns by charter operators. Sen. Villanueva is also the chief sponsor of a bill for non-citizen voting in school board elections in Illinois.
Sen. Robert Peters (D, 13th district) – UWF endorsed
Sen. Peters represents downtown and the south lakefront. He has been a staunch CTU supporter via his co-sponsorship of the bill to restore our bargaining rights and chief co-sponsorship of the bill to create an elected school board. Sen. Peters chairs the public safety committee and in that role was the chief sponsor of landmark criminal justice reform passed last year. Sen. Peters is also the chair of the Senate Black Caucus.
Sen. Bill Cunningham (D, 18th Senate District)
Sen. Cunningham represents the far Southwest Side of Chicago and suburbs and is the President Pro Tempore (number 2 ranking member) of the Senate. He is also the chief sponsor of the bill that restored our bargaining rights last year. Sen. Cunningham has also been a longtime supporter of an elected school board for Chicago. His wife and daughter are both CTU members.
Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas (D, 20th Senate District) – UWF endorsed
Sen. Pacione-Zayas represents the Northwest Side, including all or parts of Albany Park, Logan Square, Avondale, Hermosa, Old Irving Park, and Portage Park. She is a child development expert and formerly worked at Clemente High School. Sen. Pacione-Zayas is the chief sponsor of the LSC empowerment bill that became law last year, a key proponent of the elected school board, and was an important CTU ally during the most recent work action for a pandemic safety agreement. She is endorsed by UWF.
Rep. Aaron Ortiz (D, 1st House District)
Rep. Ortiz, a CTU member who worked at Back of the Yards HS prior to being elected to the General Assembly, represents parts of the Southwest Side, including parts of Gage Park, Archer Heights, Back of the Yards, and McKinley Park. He has been a chief supporter of all CTU legislation. Aaron is the chair of the House Latino Caucus and also defeated Ed Burke to be the 14th Ward Democratic committeeman.
Lilian Jimenez (D, 4th House District) – UWF endorsed
Lilian Jimenez is running for Illinois House in the 4th district on the West and Northwest Sides, the seat currently held by Rep. Delia Ramirez. Lilian has a long labor and community organizing background. Rep. Ramirez’s organization endorsed Lilian after a community-driven process, and she’s also endorsed by UWF.
Rep. Lakesia Collins (D, 9th District) – UWF endorsed
Rep. Collins represents parts of the West Side of Chicago, including North Lawndale, Garfield Park, and the West Loop. She is an SEIU Healthcare member and was an organizer with HCII prior to her election to the State Legislature. Besides being a key supporter of our bargaining rights and the elected school board, Rep. Collins also spearheaded the fight against proposed school closures in North Lawndale and kept three schools open as a result.
Rep. Lindsey LaPointe (D, 19th House District)
Rep. LaPointe represents the far Northwest Side, including Portage Park, Jefferson Park, and Dunning. She has been a strong supporter of CTU and progressive issues, including sponsoring the ERSB bill, and was the chief sponsor of a bill last year to include licensed teachers at contract schools to be members of the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund. Rep. LaPointe was a social worker prior to entering the Illinois House.
Rep. Theresa Mah (D, 24th House District) – UWF endorsed
Rep. Mah represents the near Southwest Side of the city, including Chinatown, Pilsen, Bridgeport and McKinley Park. Rep. Mah has been a longtime CTU supporter, including serving as a co-sponsor of both our bargaining rights and elected school board bills. Rep. Mah is an LSC member at Kelly High School and has been endorsed by UWF.
Rep. Kam Buckner (D, 26th House District)
Rep. Buckner represents parts of downtown and the South Side. He was the chief co-sponsor of the elected school board bill in the House and also the chief sponsor of the trailer bill to the ERSB bill that made the school closure moratorium have an immediate effective date. Simply put, the ERSB and closure moratorium does not get done without him. Rep. Buckner is the chair of the House Black Caucus and is also the son and brother of CTU members.
Rep. Marcus Evans (D, 33rd District)
Rep. Evans represents parts of the South Side and south suburbs. He is the chair of the House Labor committee and in that role was a chief co-sponsor of our bargaining rights bill. He’s also a champion of the elected school board. Moreover, Rep. Evans is the chief sponsor of an Illinois constitutional amendment to outlaw right-to-work laws in Illinois.
Rep. Will Guzzardi (D, 39th House District) – UWF endorsed
Rep. Guzzardi represents parts of the Northwest Side including parts of Logan Square, Avondale, Belmont Cragin, Old Irving Park, and Portage Park. He’s been a huge CTU ally, including as the chief sponsor of our bill for charter school neutrality in the House. He also was the chief sponsor of the $15/hour minimum wage and the bill to lift the ban on rent control. Rep. Guzzardi chairs the House Progressive Caucus and is endorsed by UWF.
Cook County Board
Commissioner Brandon Johnson (D, 1st Cook County Board District) – UWF endorsed
Comm. Johnson is a CTU member who represents the West Side of Chicago and near west suburbs. He has been an invaluable voice for working people’s interests on the county board and is also the chief sponsor of the ordinance to create Indigenous People’s Day in Cook County. Comm. Johnson is endorsed by UWF.
Commissioner Alma Anaya (D, 7th Cook County Board District) – UWF endorsed
Comm. Anaya represents the Southwest Side of Chicago, including Brighton Park, McKinley Park, Gage Park, and Little Village. She has been a key part of the progressive caucus on the Cook County Board, working on a variety of initiatives with Comm. Johnson. Comm. Anaya is endorsed by UWF.