Thursday morning, Governor Rauner visited Belleville East High School to give a speech. Several parents of students from the school district were cleared by the principal to attend the event. The parents, also SEIU members, were hopeful to hear what the governor had to say and to ask him why he continues to push for painful cuts to child care and home care programs. On their arrival after presenting their identification at the door however, representatives from the governor’s office denied them entry and these members – Rauner’s constituents – were forced out of the building by security.
(Thursday, February 25th, 2016, Chicago) — WBEZ Chicago Public Radio continued its political series today about how powerful right-wing special interests are pouring money into the 5th House District. A community leader, Juliana Stratton, endorsed by SEIU, is challenging Rep. Ken Dunkin who has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from Gov. Rauner and his rich friends. Dunkin has voted against a host of issues for working families which has resulted in crippling cuts to child care for low-income parents and children and slashing home healthcare assistance for seniors.
You simply have to listen to WBEZ’s story today where Juliana Stratton was interviewed while door knocking; and Ken Dunkin paid for a bingo game at a senior center.
Illinois sorely needs Democratic state representatives willing to challenge the authority of House Speaker Michael Madigan, but state Rep. Kenneth “Ken” Dunkin’s erratic behavior in the Legislature, showing little appreciation for when a solid front really is smart, looks more opportunistic than brave. Voters in the 5th District, a skinny swath that stretches from Grand Crossing on the South Side to Goethe Street on the Near North Side, should choose the well-informed Juliana Stratton, who has a strong background in public policy, including her job as the director of the Center for Public Safety and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Stratton, a Bronzeville attorney who specializes in civil rights and employment discrimination, is backed by CTU President Karen Lewis, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and big labor organizations. That’s not necessarily all good, but at least Stratton’s financial support in this Democratic primary comes from actual fellow Democrats.
Dunkin skipped a crucial vote to overrule Gov. Bruce Rauner on spending cuts for child care and services for the elderly and disabled. He also torpedoed a Democratic effort to override a veto of a bill designed to limit Rauner’s control of collective bargaining with public unions. Now, much of Dunkin’s campaign money comes from groups with Rauner ties. Also troubling, it was revealed last week that Dunkin twice was convicted in the late 1990s of violating orders of protection and battery, and he failed to pay child support.
CHICAGO-A review of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s FY2017 budget, introduced Wednesday, shows he is targeting some 44,000 seniors with almost $200 million in cuts to the successful Community Care Program, which saves taxpayer dollars and keeps an aging population comfortably in their homes and communities instead of in costlier nursing facilities.
Rauner has provided no justification for the massive cuts (43% per senior) or the new costs they would put on taxpayers, to say nothing of the suffering it will cause seniors around Illinois.
Said Terri Harkin, Vice President of the Home Care Division at SEIU Healthcare Illinois:
“Bruce Rauner made noises yesterday about how ‘compassionate’ his administration is. There is nothing “compassionate” about ensuring that thousands of seniors no longer will be able to stay with dignity in their own homes and communities but instead will be forced into costlier long-term care facilities. Targeting seniors may help Gov. Rauner preserve tax breaks for the wealthy, but it is terrible policy that will cause suffering for thousands of seniors, does nothing to solve Illinois’ budget crisis and does nothing to contribute to the welfare of Illinois.”
1) The Bruce Rauner proposed FY17 budget dramatically cuts home care for seniors through a $197.6 million cut to the Illinois Department on Aging budget.
2) The Rauner budget would do this by splitting the Community Care Program (CCP), which currently provides home care services for roughly 84,000 seniors, into two programs: one for those covered by Medicaid, and a new “Community Reinvestment Program” for seniors not in Medicaid.
3) This proposal, if implemented, would have a substantial negative impact on the 43,700 seniors who the Rauner budget indicates would be moved to the “Community Reinvestment Program”
4) In CCP right now, the average cost of care per senior per year is roughly $10,430. The average cost to Medicaid of a nursing home is around $52,000 a year, or about five times as much.
5) The Rauner budget gives NO DETAILS about the nature of these cuts. The Illinois Department on Aging Budget presentation indicates that for seniors moved to the “CRP”
Sources: Rauner FY17 operating budget book (mostly in the Dept. on Aging section, beginning at pg. 257)
Contact: Graeme.Zielinski@seiuhcil.org or James.Muhammad@seiuhcil.org
SPRINGFIELD-Following is the statement of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Vice President James Muhammad in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Wednesday budget address.
“Bruce Rauner’s budget proposal? A. My way. B. The highway.
“With social services agencies, prevention programs and universities turning away clients and students and shuttering their doors every day, today’s address did nothing to meet the calamity that Bruce Rauner has created deliberately and which has vulnerable people as his chief victims.
“The Rauner budget again has the wrong priorities.
“As one telling example, Gov. Rauner announced $198 million in cuts to the State’s Community Care Program that provides vital home healthcare assistance to seniors. Rauner’s irresponsible budget would cut the vital program and hurt more than 43,000 seniors in Illinois. Half of all seniors in CCP would face dramatic service cuts and sharp reductions in home care assistance.
“One thing is clear today: The only kind of compromise this governor wants is the one that gives him everything he wants.”
(February 16th, 2016) — A host of community leaders representing working families, including SEIU Healthcare Illinois, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), Grassroots Illinois Action, Alderman Carlos Rosa and Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia all gathered today to endorse Omar Aquino running for an open seat in the Illinois State Senate’s 2nd District.
See video of Jaqueline Rodriguez, HCII Vice-President’s remarks and the full text of her statement below along with other information from the press event today.
Jaqueline Rodriguez, HCII Vice-President, Endorses Omar Aquino for Illinois Senate 2nd District
Statement from Jaqueline Rodriguez, SEIU HCII Vice-President
Good morning. I am Jaqueline Rodriguez, and I am a vice president at SEIU Healthcare , the union that represents more than 50,000 home child care providers and homecare workers who get paid by the State of Illinois.
Our members and the children, seniors and people with disabilities whom they serve, understand more than most the danger that Bruce Rauner poses to vital services in Illinois.
Recently, our union uncovered a Rauner budget memo that said that, “government doesn’t solve problems, it subsidizes them.”
It is this type of cynical and borderline racist point of view that has led Illinois down such a destructive path.
We are entering our 8th month without a budget and now it is almost on a daily basis that we hear of another disaster caused by Rauner’s approach, which proves his indifference to the suffering he is causing the people of Illinois.
Universities are on the verge of shutdown. Social service agencies like Lutheran Social Services closed their doors putting at risk the communities they serve. Other services like homecare agencies have had to shut down after they went months without paying workers who had already provided home care to seniors.
One of our own union home care agencies is on the verge of not being able to make payroll this week after they have been hanging on a thread for the past 8 months. Gang intervention, rape prevention, cervical and breast cancer screenings, have all been sacrificed for the Bruce Rauner agenda that has nothing to do with saving taxpayers money and everything to do with protecting corporations, big banks and the super wealthy like Rauner for their own subsidies.
We say enough is enough and we know Omar Aquino does, too.
With his record of advocacy for vulnerable citizens, particularly women and people of color and immigrants, we know that he rejects the Rauner approach to hostage-taking and will work to find real solutions that STOP subsidizing the rich at the expense of vital services.
Governor Rauner is wrong when he says that government “subsidizes” problems and the public is starting to recognize this too.
We know that Omar Aquino will go to Springfield to help “turnarond” the runaway Rauner agenda and help improve the lives of his constituents, instead of treating them like they don’t deserve a more responsible state government and that is why Omar Aquino has our strong endorsement to be the next senator from the Second District.
CHICAGO-Following is the statement of SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Keith Kelleher in support of House Bill 580, which would institute a mediation process for Illinois workers:
“On behalf of more than 53,000 state child care and home healthcare workers who have been under attack at the bargaining table by the radical demands of Bruce Rauner, SEIU Healthcare Illinois voices its strong support for House Bill 580, which would shield our vital workforce from historic overreach.
“When Rauner successfully sabotaged Senate Bill 1229 with the help of Ken Dunkin, several legislators simply voted present because they felt both sides could make progress and such legislation wasn’t necessary. The intervening months have shown just how unreasonable Rauner can be. We need House Bill 580 now.
“That’s because Rauner’s demands of our workers have been extreme and are without precedent. He is asking our workforce, the lowest paid in the state and a majority of whom are women and people of color, to be paid even less. To put this in context, by the state’s own data, licensed home child care providers make less than $5 per hour, after expenses. He would thrust them even deeper into poverty. Rauner also wants to strip our workers of health insurance and training.
“It has been clear that Rauner wants an end to labor peace in Illinois: This bill would move to restore it. And passing this legislation would release some of Rauner’s many hostages and could add to the conditions for Illinois to finally move forward after this nightmare period of extremism, threats and bullying.
“We urge the friends of labor in the General Assembly to pass this bill and for Governor Rauner to come to his senses and sign it.”
$300K “Superstar” Authored Bizarre Slide Show With Misspellings, Comic Sans Font, Ronald Reagan, Cartoons and Right-Wing Catchphrases
An internal document that was forced over earlier this week by Attorney General Lisa Madigan to SEIU Healthcare Illinois shows a bizarre and oftentimes clownish approach to budgeting by the Bruce Rauner administration.
Belying his reputation as a shrewd businessman, the 47-page slide show created by $300,000-per-year hired hand Donna Arduin (attached) is rife with misspellings, comic sans font, two pictures of a bear, an image of Ronald Reagan and a racially-loaded statement about government and assertions that the Illinois State Fair, home healthcare for people with disabilities, the state university system and state museums are wasteful.
The sloppy presentation foreshadows Rauner’s disastrous approach to the budget and was authored some time in August. The administration fought its release, and for good reason.
The embarrassing communication was first reported on by Crain’s Chicago Business. Read about it here.
Said SEIU Healthcare Illinois Executive Vice President Greg Kelley:
“While cutting child care for working families, Bruce Rauner was wasting taxpayer dollars to create a right-wing motivational seminar that is more interested in Ronald Reagan than the people of Illinois. It is no wonder that he fought for months to keep this embarrassment from the public.”
“In the midst of a budget crisis he created, Bruce Rauner should explain why scarce public money was spent on this thing.”
President Obama Shames Rep. Dunkin for His Betrayal of Working Families and Embracing Gov. Rauner’s Extreme agenda
(February 11th, 2015, CHICAGO) – President Barack Obama addressed the Illinois’ General Assembly yesterday as he joked and prodded his former statehouse colleagues to find common ground to make politics work again to solve problems for everyday Americans and seek an end to bitter partisanship.
One of the most memorable moments during Obama’s speech in Springfield was when the President publicly rebuked State Rep. Ken Dunkin. After talking about finding common ground with the other side of the aisle, Rep. Dunkin himself stood up and caused a stir, which Obama retorted, “Dunkin, we’ll talk later.” The entire chamber erupted into loud applause and laughing which utterly embarrassed Ken Dunkin. (See the video clip here — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QScPpAxDIo).
CLTV: President Obama Calls Out State Rep. Ken Dunkin In Front of General Assembly!
Media outlets across Illinois chimed in and noted Obama calling out Ken Dunkin, here is a noteworthy list:
More pointedly, Obama singled out Democratic state Rep. Ken Dunkin of Chicago, who has sided with Rauner on several issues to deny House Speaker Michael Madigan a 71-vote, veto-proof majority. Dunkin is facing a primary challenge and is being backed for re-election by Rauner allies.
Obama said reaching political compromise across the aisle “doesn’t make me a sellout to my own party.” Dunkin jumped out of his chair and shouted “Yes!” before Obama verbally slammed him.
“We’ll talk later Dunkin. Sit down,” Obama said as Democrats — and even some Republicans — erupted into wild cheers.
State Rep. Ken Dunkin, D-Chicago, got some attention from Obama during the president’s speech.
At one point in his remarks, Obama mentioned how when he finds common ground on an issue, it doesn’t make him “a sellout to my own party.”
That comment drew a clap and a audible “yes” from Dunkin.
Obama paused, looked toward Dunkin and said, “We’ll talk later, Dunkin,” drawing loud laughter and applause throughout the chamber.
Dunkin is under fire by fellow Democrats for being absent for a key vote on a labor-related bill and for not voting for a bill reversing child-care cuts, bucking the Illinois House’s Democratic majority.
“I’ve got an opportunity to find some common ground,” The president said. “That doesn’t make me a sell out to my own party.”
At that time Obama directed his attention to Democratic Rep. Ken Dunkin who parted ways with his colleagues on votes including child care assistance and an effort to change the way the state addresses an impasse in the case of stalled labor talks.
“Well, we’ll talk later Dunkin, you just sit down,” Obama said.
[Rep. Ken] Dunkin has repeatedly struck back with shenanigans aimed at attacking the Illinois Democratic Party– who he calls “monkeys”– and is trying to make the race all about him vs Madigan claiming, for example, that the “Mike Madigan slave mentality of his plantation politics is real,” and calling Stratton Madigan’s puppet.
Today, even President Obama, visiting Springfield, chimed in after Dunkin interrupted his speech several times. This afternoon Obama told Illinois lawmakers Wednesday that they and the nation should insist on a “better politics” based on civility and compromise as a cure to the “poisonous political climate” that pushes citizens away.
Made-Up Numbers Used to Praise Made-Up Claim: State’s Own Figures Show 48,000 Fewer Kids Get Care
CHICAGO-A leader from the union that represents state child care providers on Monday called on Illinoisans for Growth and Opportunity (Illinois GO), widely considered a Republican front group, to withdraw a television ad running on behalf of Bruce Rauner ally Rep. Ken Dunkin because of massive misrepresentations regarding damage the couple has caused to the Child Care Assistance Program—and ignoring the state’s own figures showing 48,000 fewer children in the program.
The ad from the deep-pocketed Republican group, which apparently began running this weekend, includes the outrageous claim by Dunkin that he “restored childcare funding” to 100,000 Illinois children. In fact, CCAP has NOT been restored and is reportedly downtens of thousands of children (citations below), the consequence of unilateral action by Bruce Rauner that was enabled by Ken Dunkin’s refusal to back legislation protecting eligibility.
Illinois GO is citing Ken Dunkin’s made-up numbers in an ad praising Ken Dunkin’s made-up numbers, and ignoring the fact that Rauner has said that he will make new cuts to the program thanks to the enabling Dunkin “deal.”
In a letter to Illinois GO (attached), Brynn Seibert, SEIU Healthcare Illinois vice president for child care, called on Illinois GO to tell the truth about child care in Illinois and withdraw the deceptive new ad:
“The cuts put in place by Bruce Rauner, and enabled by Ken Dunkin now and forever, have done permanent damage to a program that has served as a bipartisan model for helping working families enter the middle class. Not only is the 100,000 kids figure entirely made up out of whole cloth and without any basis in fact, it is a reminder of the cynicism of politicians like Ken Dunkin and Bruce Rauner, who are using vulnerable people as pawns in a political game that is harming the welfare of Illinois….
“On behalf of the tens of thousands of kids and working families who have been harmed by Ken Dunkin’s and Bruce Rauner’s cuts to child care in Illinois and who remain in their crosshairs, we ask that you cease and desist and withdraw this deceptive ad.”
The FACTS about the Dunkin/Rauner cuts to child care:
On July 1st, Governor Rauner made destructive cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program by severely restricting eligibility and increasing parent co-payments, impairing an industry that local economies rely on.
Dunkin, meanwhile, met with child care providers and promised them to their face, as well as signed a written pledge, that he would vote for Senate Bill 570. The bill failed by his lone vote after he reneged.
Even after some of the cuts were partially reversed in early November as a result of the Dunkin-Rauner “deal,” the program remains severely diminished from the participation it had in Fiscal Year 2015.