Press Releases
February 16, 2016

Working men and women blast Governor Rauner and State Rep Ken Dunkin for their destructive agenda

Working men and women blast Governor Rauner and State Rep Ken Dunkin for their destructive agenda

On the eve of the state budget address, working men and women from around the city of Chicago spoke out today about Governor Rauner’s harmful agenda and blasted State Rep Ken Dunkin (5th District) for supporting the governor’s destructive priorities.

Mary Jones, a retired senior data entry operator with the Chicago Public Libraries and a resident of the 5th District, said, “Bruce Rauner won’t compromise. It’s his way or no way at all. And his way means protecting wealthy people and big corporations, while hurting regular working people like us. Governor Rauner has the wrong priorities, and we feel the harm right here in the 5th District.”

Brenda Rodriguez, the program director for Working America, presented over 9,400 petitions for non-union workers living and working in Chicago, including the 5th Legislative District. “These petitions are from workers who want to stop the cuts to higher education and vital services like childcare and in-home care for seniors.”

Over the last year, Governor Rauner has failed to enact a budget that would fund the state’s public universities and colleges, leaving students and faculty to wonder if their school will be open next semester. Gabriel Gomez, a professor in the College of Education at Chicago State University, stated, “Our students are predominantly African-American. It makes me angry that the Governor would allow these students – who so many have given up on – to suffer, all because he refuses to ask the very wealthy to pay a dime more. High school students and their families can’t plan for the year ahead. They don’t know if they’ll have MAP grant tuition assistance – or even a college that’s open for business.”

Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor and a co-chair of the Illinois Working Together coalition, stated, “We are here today in the 5th Legislative House District to hold Ken Dunkin accountable for voting with Governor Rauner and against the best interests of working families in his district, the very men, women and children he was elected to represent. Governor Rauner has chosen to leverage the critical services and programs, like child care and raising the minimum wage, as a bargaining chip to push an agenda that hurts working families, and Rep Dunkin is allowing it to happen.”

“Over the past year, we’ve seen the devastating effects of the state budget crisis on our community,” said Katie Jordan from the Coalition of Labor Union Women and the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans. “Governor Rauner has made it clear that essential programs for seniors are the first to go. Last summer, the state’s heating and cooling assistance program was suspended, and in the fall, the popular Meals on Wheels program was cutback in many places across the state.”

Celeste Cunine, an early childhood educator and resident of the 5th Legislative District, said, “I became an early childhood educator because I saw that our children were not ready for school, and I vowed that I would do all that I could to resolve that problem. By not enacting a budget, Governor Rauner is directly attacking women of color and working families that depend on the social services programs that are being cut. Ken Dunkin is not a champion for the early childhood field. He promised to vote on the child care bill this past November, but he failed to do so.”