President's Report

Issue 1 2017

As I write this, we are in the fourth week of the Donald Trump presidency.

As I write this, we are in the fourth week of the Donald Trump presidency. Looking back over these four weeks, President Trump has used the power entrusted to him by the American people to start a race to the bottom by closing our borders, enacting a hiring freeze for federal employees, and initiating a review of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, among others. This is disgraceful. All the positive advances we have made are being threatened by his executive power.

Arguably his most controversial order temporarily closed our borders to refugees and cut off funding to cities who provide sanctuary. America is a nation built by immigrants for immigrants, and to turn away anyone who seeks refuge within our borders flies in the face of the principles on which this country was built.

The fight for immigrant rights has deep seeded roots within the labor movement that trace back to Chicago’s Haymarket Square in 1886 and what would become the Haymarket Affair. The modern, American labor movement began right here in Chicago thanks to the determination and fortitude of the immigrants who made Chicago their home. They realized early on that to fight corporate greed and ensure a safe and secure future for themselves and their families, they would have to come together and work across nationalities for their collective advancement. On the surface, the Haymarket Affair was the fight for a shorter workday, but, in reality, it was a fight for immigration rights, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to free assembly. Born out of this tragedy was a movement committed to fight for the rights of immigrant workers.

There are many parallels to draw between the destruction President Trump is wreaking across the country and what Governor Bruce Rauner is doing here in Illinois.

Since taking office in January 2015, Governor Rauner has used his power as governor to be a roadblock to progress by manufacturing and subsequently perpetuating the state’s current budget impasse and resulting financial crisis. Governor Rauner has had two opportunities this year, through his State of the State and Budget addresses, to talk to the people of Illinois and lay out what he considers his vision for a better future. However, instead of presenting a thoughtful budget aimed at expanding the economy, increasing upward economic mobility for everyone and growing our middle class, he continues to insist on policies and management that favors corporations and strangles working families. He continues to shield large corporations from their fiscal responsibilities by not fixing corporate tax loopholes, and he places the burden of fixing our economy on the backs of consumers, who are the real job creators in Illinois, and workers.

Governor Rauner can choose to end the budget impasse if he would simply drop his personal agenda and do his job, but his recent speeches show he has no interest in doing what’s right for the people of Illinois. It is shameful and will not soon be forgotten by voters who put him into office.