It is our pleasure to report to you SEIU Local 73’s successful involvement in Tuesday’s election. Since the summer, staff and volunteers canvassed over 450 shifts (3-4 hours knocking on doors). On Tuesday, SEIU Local 73 had over 250 people knocking on doors encouraging people to vote. This incredible effort, over 12 different canvass locations, doubled our efforts in the Primary Election participation.
These efforts paid dividends. Most notably, Bruce Rauner lost his re-election battle by a humiliating 14 points. A close second is the election of Aaron Ammons, SEIU Chapter President, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, as the Champaign County Clerk.
Local 73 members canvassing for Aaron Ammons in Champaign County (Aaron is in the front row, 3rd in from the right).
It has been a long time since we’ve seen these kinds of victories in SEIU Local 73. Some credit can be given to the “blue wave,” however the hard work of hundreds of members – canvassing, talking to co-workers, texting, organizing vote drives – shows what we can do when we work together collectively to achieve change.
Change is not easy. Change does not end on Election Day. The Political Engagement Committee uses issues, legislative votes, questionnaires, and candidate interviews to raise policies which impact union members. We then use support of our issues as a way to endorse candidates. We do this because politics is about the policies and laws we want to see enacted.
Now that the legislators have been elected, the next phase begins. We need to work together to ensure lawmakers at all levels of government hear our voices. Our work together over the next few years will be crucial for affordable healthcare, retirement security, fair taxation of the rich, and protecting collective bargaining.
As we engage in these legislative battles, we will also need to evaluate municipal candidates for the 2019 elections. We know of some candidates running for office in municipal races who reached out for an SEIU Local 73 endorsement; however, we depend upon the membership to guide us on municipal races. If your municipality or school board has an election which will impact your unit, please let us know. We can work with the unit to develop a local questionnaire and interview candidates. Please contact the SEIU Local 73 Political Director, John Kohlhepp, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be involved in your municipal elections.