December 19, 2014
SPRINGFIELD — Chicago Teachers Union chief Karen Lewis came to Springfield on Wednesday to rally against possible pension cuts to city teachers but left town being urged to run against Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
By her own and other union members.
Lewis has locked horns repeatedly with Emanuel over school closings and his bid to impose pension cuts on city teachers much like what current and retired state workers were handed last December.
She went so far as telling reporters last October that the mayor was “in trouble” with voters in Chicago even though his campaign war chest was brimming with money.
During the CTU president’s call for unity in the looming pension fight on Wednesday, loud chants of “Run for Mayor!” filled the Capitol rotunda, where unionized city workers gathered to hear her speak.
Afterward, Lewis seemed to suggest she’s staying put in 2015, when Emanuel faces re-election, but she also didn’t close any doors.
“I have a job that I was elected to. I am not a politician. I clearly am not a politician,” Lewis told reporters when asked about the calls for her to run against Emanuel.
When one reporter pointed out that Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner takes pride in saying he, too, isn’t a politician, Lewis cracked, “But I’m not egotistical or rich.”
Then, she said her husband, John Lewis, had already weighed in on the question.
“My husband has said ‘no,’ ” she said.
Asked if that meant she had ruled out a mayoral run, Lewis then repeated herself and ended questions.
“My husband has said ‘no.’ ”