It was a close race in the 2014 election for the 26th District State Representative. State Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-26) beat candidate Jay Travis by less than 6 percent. For the 2016 race, Travis is continuing her fight to Springfield.
“We were able to build a racially diverse, multi-generational community labor coalition rooted in a platform around protecting the rights of working folks,” she said during an interview at her campaign office, 4315 S. Cottage Grove Ave. “Part of what we are doing this time around is just making sure that we are utilizing our solid volunteer base to fortify support that we received in the last election.”
Travis prides herself as a 26th District native, saying she was born, raised and educated in the Bronzeville community. Travis served as the executive director of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) where she worked to pass the Public Act 1225, requiring the state to allocate $14 million each year to summer jobs and programs for the youth.
Employment and worker’s rights are still forefront topics in Travis’ agenda this time around. She said the double-digit unemployment rates in the 26th District should be a concern and a priority.
“There are no contradictions when it comes to my position and my track record when it comes to standing with the working people to organize in the workplace. I have been consistent and have been a part of numerous community and labor coalitions that fight to protect the right for people to form unions,” she said.
One of those unions is the Chicago Teacher’s Union (CTU), which came out in support for Travis during the last election. On Dec. 9, teachers in the union will vote on whether or not to strike, and Travis said she would support a strike.
“I would fully support the teachers’ decision to strike if that decision is reached,” Travis said. “I say that knowing that this is a very difficult decision for teachers to make.”
Travis stood side by side with the CTU during their Nov. 23 rally in Grant Park, and stood for other education issues this year, such as the need for an elected school board and the Coalition to Revitalize Dyett.
She said Dyett was a clear example on why people in the 26th District want new, accountable political leadership.
“[Dyett] was a matter of the community being very clear in organizing and building support that extended to over 3,000 people calling for a plan that supported the committee to revitalize Dyett’s proposal,” Travis said. “That plan was completely ignored by the elected officials that represent those families.”
Another main emphasis of her campaign is the issue of public safety, which has been a talked about issue citywide through recent events. Travis said the public safety agenda umbrellas over other issues.
“I believe in a public safety agenda based on accountable policing, job creation and supports for young people in our community in terms of making sure that there are enough after school programs and employment opportunities for young people that want to work,” she said.
Travis said accountable policing and the accountability of political leaders are the most important things for the city right now.
“I think the cover up of the murder of Laquan McDonald has led to a public outcry that is calling for accountable, responsive political leadership,” she said. “I have a track record as an independent, progressive and accountable leader in the community who has always placed the needs of ordinary people above the needs of the corporate elite.”
[Via: Hyde Park Herald]