Chicago Education Reform Networkfor Public Education Action Fund

Chicago: Jay Travis for State Representative

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The best and only way to restore democracy in Chicago is to vote for people who believe in democracy. Vote!


Here is a candidate who rejects the billionaires’ agenda: Jay Travis. She is running for State Representative in the 26th District against an ally of Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Rauner.


The race is a rematch; Travis lost to Christian Mitchell two years ago by a few hundred votes. The biggest issue in the contest is education. 


Travis’s main thrust is to paint Mitchell as a “Rauner Democrat,” based on large donations he’s received from wealthy allies of Gov. Bruce Rauner and from groups backing charter schools and pension cuts. Indeed, Mitchell has been one of the top recipients of funds both statewide and nationally from Stand For Children, a group brought to Illinois by Rauner in an effort to undercut union influence and bargaining rights; it’s backed by a bevy of billionaires including Republican Ken Griffin.


The NPE Action Fund endorsed Jay Travis.


Our board member Jitu Brown (who led the Dyett hunger strike last fall) wrote:


There is a groundswell of support in this nation for candidates who reject the politics of moneyed power and put the needs of ordinary people at the heart of their work. In Chicago, we have a real opportunity to elect just such a candidate — with support from people like you.


The race for 26th District state representatives pits an incumbent corporate Democrat against grassroots community organizer Jay Travis. Jay has a lifelong record of commitment to the needs of ordinary people, from rank and file teachers to young students in some of our most disenfranchised communities. As the leader of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization for twelve years, she led the battle to save our neighborhood public schools, push back against neighborhood displacement, and bring resources and equity to communities ignored by mainstream politicians and their corporate backers.


She’s running against corporate Democrat Christian Mitchell, a darling of the school privatization movement closely allied with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who gave Mitchell more than $28,000 last April alone in two donations that bookended Mitchell’s endorsement of Emanuel.


Mitchell has voted dead wrong on issues of critical concern to educators and our residents. He voted for the state charter school commission’s power to overrule democratically elected school boards who reject charter school applications. He voted against parents who wanted the right to opt their kids out of controversial and deeply flawed high-stakes tests. He opposed a bill for an elected Chicago school board — and only changed his tune during this election season. For the last six months, he’s been promoting a pension cost-shift scheme that does nothing to address the structural deficits in Illinois’ schools, and would only create new losers among already cash-strapped school districts outside of Chicago.


None of this is surprising given the amount of money Mitchell’s received in the last for years from school privatizers — including more than $150,000 alone from Stand For Children, over four times greater than the amount they’ve donated to Senate GOP leader Christine Radogno.


Most recently, Mitchell stood with CPS CEO Forest Claypool and supposed “leaders”, including the minister who paid destitute Black people $25 each to advocate for the closing of Dyett High School, in betraying the brave Dyett hunger strikers. With accountable political representation in the 26th District, we would not have had to starve our bodies for 34 days.


We need state representatives in Springfield who aren’t beholden to opportunistic corporate elites and their raids on critically needed programs for our seniors, students and working families. We need a work ethic — and a representative — who tells the truth and puts the needs of ordinary people first.


You can help. Jay Travis came very close to beating Mitchell two years ago, even though he’s raised ten times as much in campaign contributions. Her volunteer field crew is large, committed, effective — and growing. But it takes money to print literature, pay for office supplies and mailers and run a competitive campaign. I’ve had the privilege of working with Jay for years — and she’s always been unflinchingly honest and supremely committed to putting our young people and their families first. Your help can put a real advocate for public education and a progressive voice for ordinary people in Springfield. Click here to learn more about supporting her campaign.


In solidarity,


Jitu Brown


NPE Action Board Member and Journey for Justice Alliance National Director



The BATS endorsed Jay Travis:


We need true progressive candidates in office! In Chicago we have a chance to begin to make the change for equity and equality. Jay Travis is running against Christian Mitchell, darling of the school privatization movement, who is funded by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, astro-turf groups Stand for Children and Democrats for Education Reform as well as receiving a $10,000 check from hedge funder Eli Broad himself! While he has money, Jay has the solid track record and the people. Victory is there for the taking, but Jay needs your help. The election of Jay will have NATIONAL ramifications! Please join Jay on February 24th @ 8:30 PM Eastern as she talks about what real progressive movements are about. Register for the Virtual House Party here


Get involved. Vote. Send a contribution to Jay Travis to help her win. 

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