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Monday, February 17, 2014
A Communique from the IEA Regarding Senator Dillard’s Endorsement
The IEA recommendation of Sen. Kirk Dillard for the Republican nomination for governor has made big news statewide. I’ve received lots of feedback on the IPACE Committee’s decision (which was approved by the IEA Board of Directors). The comments I’ve received have been overwhelmingly positive. Lots of Democrats and Independents have told me they plan to vote in the Republican Primary for Kirk Dillard. I hope all our members will do so. There have been some questions and concerns raised, so I’d like to address some of those:
Why recommend Sen. Dillard?
Sen. Dillard supports our fight for adequate funding for public education and he stood up to tremendous pressure and voted against the pension-cutting bill, SB 1, which he calls “unconstitutional.” He supports collective bargaining. In fact, he still has the commemorative pen he received when Gov. Thompson signed the first collective bargaining law in 1983.
IEA and Sen. Dillard do not agree on every issue, but after working with him for decades, first as an aide to Governors Thompson and Edgar and later as a legislator, we know that Kirk Dillard values our members’ work, their opinions and their expertise. We know he will listen to what we have to say. He believes in public education.
Contrast that with the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, Bruce Rauner, who promises to take away the rights of our members and strip them of the ability to advocate effectively for public education, for their students and for their own working conditions. He would privatize public schools and would move all active employees to 401K plans, which would undermine the entire pension system.
Mr. Rauner is trying to buy the election. If he succeeds, and is elected in November, he’ll try to destroy our union. To ignore this reality would be irresponsible and foolish. Kirk Dillard deserves our support.
Why no recommendation in the Democratic primary?
The outcome of the Democratic Primary for governor is not in question. We can make a difference in the Republican race if our members, Republicans, Democrats and Independents, vote for Kirk Dillard.
Does this mean that, if he wins the Primary, IEA will recommend Dillard in the General Election?
The recommendation of Sen. Dillard is only for the Primary. The nominees of both parties will be interviewed and assessed after the primary. A decision on whether/who to recommend will be made at that time.
Is Sen. Dillard a member of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council)?
No. ALEC is notoriously slow to remove legislators from their roster, but Sen. Dillard resigned from ALEC last year. We’ve seen his letter of resignation. We have spoken frankly with him about ALEC and the group’s education work. Sen. Dillard told us that his emphasis while serving as ALEC Illinois Chair was on pro-business legislation, not education.
What should we tell our members about this election?
IEA members need someone we can work with in the governor’s office. On the Republican side, Kirk Dillard is the electable candidate who believes in public education. Sen. Dillard is the son of a career teacher. He attended public school and sends his daughters to public school. He supports our fight for adequate funding, voted against SB1 and will oppose attacks on our collective bargaining rights.
On Election Day, any registered voter can request a Republican ballot and vote for Kirk Dillard, even if he/she has never voted in a Republican Primary. A vote in the Republican Primary for Kirk Dillard is the right vote for IEA members and for everyone who supports public education.