CHICAGO-The Service Illinois Employees Union (SEIU) Illinois Council on Friday endorsed state Sen. Kwame Raoul in the hotly-contested race for attorney general in the upcoming Democratic primary, citing his commitment to labor rights, healthcare, immigrant justice, women’s rights, gun safety and criminal justice reform.
“We are proud to endorse Sen. Raoul because we know he’ll fight for us,” Greg Kelley, president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, said at a morning press conference.
SEIU Local 1 Recording Secretary Lonnell Saffold said the senator would be a “champion” for workers.
John Kohlhepp, political director for SEIU Local 73, said Sen. Raoul would be a line of defense against Gov. Bruce Rauner’s efforts to undermine unions.
“Gov. Rauner and his rich friends are seeking to fundamentally alter the balance of power between employers and workers. We are confident that Sen. Raoul will defend the right to bargain collectively,” he said.
Home healthcare worker Iesha Cross said she was endorsing the senator because of his fight for healthcare access for all.
“He has lived up to the mantle of his predecessor, Barack Obama, in fighting for Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act,” she said.
Jaquie Algee, director of external relations for SEIU Healthcare Illinois, cited Sen. Raoul’s commitment to fight for women and for criminal justice reform and gun safety.
“Long before the awakening our state and our nation are experiencing, Senator Raoul has been leading on women’s issues,” she said.
The SEIU Illinois Council is constituted of Local 1, Local 73 and Healthcare Illinois. The three unions combined represent 150,000 Illinois workers.