Thursday, July 3, 2014

My new Daily Beast piece on Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis's possible mayoral run against Rahm Emanuel

Here's my piece on why Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, should go right ahead and do what she recently said she's "seriously thinking" about doing -- jump into the race against Mayor One Percent, aka Rahm Emanuel. Lewis said she's "a little sick of" Rahm -- aren't we all? As I argue, there are solid reasons why a Lewis run would be good for the city, even if she doesn't win.

This is my first piece for the Beast, and they definitely Beasted it up with the tabloid-style headline and teaser. Also, they gave me the tiniest byline I have yet received as a professional writer! But they pay better than most other places, and it's a high-traffic site, so I suppose I shouldn't complain.

Here's a paragraph that was cut for space, but I think it makes an important point. Read it, and then read the rest of the piece. And if Karen Lewis does indeed run for mayor and you live here in Chicago, please consider volunteering for her. She's pretty great.
Governing as an elected official is, of course, different from leading a big labor organization like CTU. It demands weighing the interests of all voters rather than advocating for the interests of just one group. But both roles require many of the same skills, such as negotiating and coalition building, and numerous labor leaders have gone on to successful political careers. Two of the most effective progressive political leaders of our time, Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Brazil's Lula, got their start as trade union leaders. Closer to home, the current mayor of Fayetteville, Arizona, Lioneld Jordan, had been president of his AFSCME local. Other labor leaders-turned-politicians include Coleman Young, former mayor of Detroit (who had been active in the UAW) and, um, Ronald Reagan (who served as president of the Screen Actors Guild).


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