Big teachers union draws some, not all, GOP governor hopefuls

Crain’s Chicago Business –

What in some ways may be the state’s most influential union held an endorsement screening session for political candidates a couple of days ago, and it was notable for which Republicans running for governor attended — and who skipped it.

The meeting over the weekend was held by the giant Illinois Education Association, which represents 130,000 grade- and high-school teachers, college professors and other school staffers outside of Chicago. It’s a powerful group worth watching on both sides of the aisle, particularly downstate.

Two of the four candidates showed up and made their pitches: state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale, who had IEA backing when he ran for governor four years ago, and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa. Both stood with the big union in opposing the pension reform package that finally passed the General Assembly last month and now faces aconstitutional test in the courts.

“I’m always glad to talk with teachers about improving education in Illinois. Remember, my dad was a teacher,” Mr. Dillard said in a statement. “With 2 million children in public schools across Illinois, it’s important for any candidate for governor to hear from their instructors.”

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