Illinois’ largest teachers’ union is endorsing Democrat Mike Frerichs in the race for treasurer.
Frerichs, a state senator from Champaign, says the treasurer helps invest in Illinois and its workforce, including management of college savings plans. He points out that his opponent, State Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego), is only running for treasurer because other options, including running for attroney general, appear less viable, while he – Frerichs – actually wants to be treasurer.
“We have a long association with the senator,” said IEA spokesman Charlie McBarron, “and we’re very pleased to have the opportunity to support him. He has supported changes in revenue that would help our state and our education system, and that is why we are supporting the senator.”
Newspaper stories over the weekend portrayed both incumbent treasurer Dan Rutherford and Frerichs opponent Cross in an unflattering light, though Frerichs’ campaign only jumped on one of those stories: one in the Chicago Sun-Times about Rutherford’s office’s interns. The campaign was mute on a Chicago Tribune story, putting Cross on the front page, about lawmakers helping constituents and/or donors navigate red tape to get a teaching certificate.
“What I said was inappropriate was in the treasurer’s office. When you clearly see a spike … in the number of paid internships,” Frerichs said, “this was clearly out of balance, and as soon as (Rutherford’s) campaign for governor ends, the number of paid interns drops dramatically.”
As for the teaching certificates, Frerichs said constituent service is an important part of a lawmaker’s job, and Cross’ role in helping people through the process, in Frerichs’ view, is not relevant to the treasurer’s race.