Chicago Teachers Union backs its own lobbyist for Chicago mayor
Chicago Teachers Union leader Brandon Johnson announced his candidacy for Chicago mayor. It’s the latest push for political power by CTU, which has backed many campaigns including Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
Brandon Johnson recently joined the field of challengers to Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Besides being a legislative coordinator for the Chicago Teachers Union, Johnson is a Cook County Board commissioner.
He already has $1 million pledged to his campaign by the American Federation of Teachers, CTU’s parent union. He also has $150,000 from the Illinois Federation of Teachers.
Only 19% of CTU spending was used representing teachers, or $5.9 million of $29 million. Half of the member dues and other revenue collected by CTU, or $15 million, go to AFT. The rest goes to politics, union staff and other union leadership priorities.
After CTU’s 2019 strike, Lightfoot predicted CTU would back a candidate for mayor, saying “I’m assuming that they’re coming after me in 2023.” Politico’s Illinois Playbook reported rumors Johnson might run for mayor, which he called “laughable.”
CTU has a hand in many campaigns, giving over $1 million to various campaigns and lobbying efforts last year through political action committees. Here are some of their political expenditures.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx
Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch.
CTU gave nearly $125,000 to Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, a Democrat. It also donated $69,900 to Democrats for the Illinois House, a PAC for helping candidates under Welch’s leadership.
Illinois Senate President Don Harmon
Friends of Don Harmon for State Senate PAC has received $59,900 from CTU, which gave another $60,000 to the Illinois Senate Democratic Fund.
Chicago Ald. Jeanette Taylor, 20th Ward
CTU Local 1 PAC has also contributed to “Citizens of Jeanette B. Taylor” a committee working on behalf of 20th Ward Ald. Jeanette Taylor, a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.
CTU’s political agenda has included defunding the police and banks, pushing for affordable housing during contract negotiations and other social agenda items.