Voting has begun and will continue through Nov. 6. There is a misconception spreading through the Illinois Valley that the Democratic Party does not care about working families.
The Illinois AFL-CIO is the umbrella organization for most of the labor unions, but they are also an advocate for all working people. When they have a concern, they contact the lawmakers and ask them to support legislation that would help remedy difficult situations.
When they see legislation that, in their opinion, will undermine working families, they contact legislators and ask them to reject support or, at the very least, modify the wording — and they keep score.
Each election season, the Illinois AFL-CIO compiles a list of legislation, good or bad, affecting working families. They assemble the data and award each legislator a percentage score relative to how they voted. The higher the score, the more worker friendly they are.
There are many legislators scoring in the upper 90 percentile, and there are many scoring single digits. There is a very pronounced line of demarcation when viewing the entire publication. The Republican legislator with the highest lifetime voting record of supporting working families was Michael McAuliffe of the western suburbs at 54 percent, and the Democratic legislator with the lowest lifetime voting record is Scott Drury of the northern suburbs at 59 percent.
To take it a step further, the average lifetime voting record for every Republican legislator in the Illinois House is 20.2 percent, while the average lifetime voting record for every Democratic legislator in the House is 86.2 percent.
I will not insult you by presuming you care who I would endorse in the upcoming election. There are many reasons we vote for who we do, but when we add up the numbers, we can see that the Democratic Party has, in fact, not abandoned working families — the Republicans just want you to think they have.
Local Republican state Rep. Jerry Long’s score of 11 percent is woeful. Working men and women deserve better.
You decide. I already have.
Note to readers: Steven Conrad is president of the Illinois Valley Building Trades Council in Ottawa.