Sick of getting beaten like a drum at every political turn, embattled Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis has indicated that she is seriously mulling a bid to take Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s job.
Lewis has sought counsel from election lawyers and will make her final decision in August, reports NBC Chicago.
“Definitely, the talk of Lewis running is ramping up to a new rate of speed,” an unidentified insider source told the station.
The last, stinging straw of defeat for Lewis, apparently, was this week’s sacking of 1,100 teachers and other employees employed by the Chicago Public Schools. (RELATED: Chicago Public Schools Whack 1,000 Employees)
“We’re bitterly disappointed with the announcement,” Chicago Teachers Union vice president Jesse Sharkey said, adding that the layoffs were unfortunate but not terribly surprising.
A union representative noted that Chicago Teachers Union members have been hit with nearly 5,000 pink slips since Emanuel took office.
In May 2013, well after a nearly two-week strike to begin the school year had appeared to be a union wage victory, the Chicago Board of Education voted 6-0 to shutter some 50 elementary schools. All affected students transferred to different schools under the plan, which is part of Emanuel’s long-term vision to close the $1 billion budget deficit currently facing the Second City. (RELATED: Chicago Public Schools Will Close 49 Elementary Schools For Good)
About three weeks later, well over 500 Chicago public school teachers were unceremoniously sacked and a few hundred other school employees also received their walking papers. (RELATED: Chicago Teachers Union Blasts Mass Firings Dictated By Post-Strike Contract)
Lewis, the head of the nation’s third-largest teachers union, and Emanuel, the foul-mouthed former ballerina and former Obama chief of staff, famously hate each other.
Lewis has used her union’s considerable local power to raise $2 million for some candidate who will eventually run against Emanuel. Her union and other unions have also registered possibly as many as 100,000 voters.
She also headed down to Mexico for weight reduction surgery in March.
As far as real political accomplishments, though, Lewis has struck out for months. She has not been able to generate any success for her union since the hollow victory of the teachers strike.
Last June, in remarks to an audience at the upscale City Club of Chicago, Lewis charged that racism and “rich white people” are to blame for the immense financial crisis facing the Chicago Public Schools. (RELATED: Chicago Teachers Union Chief Faults ‘Rich White People’ For City’s Education Mess)
In April of this year, she criticized an ambitious turnaround plan for three low-performing elementary schools in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods as “a slap in the face to those of us who are attempting to negotiate for more resources” and “nothing more than school closings by another name.” (RELATED: Chicago Teachers Union To Mayor Rahm: Improving Failed Schools Full Of Black Kids Is RACIST)
In 2012, the union boss used the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School as an excuse to blaming Teach For America for helping “kill and disenfranchise children.” (RELATED: Chicago Teachers Union Chief Uses Sandy Hook To Bash Teach For America)
Chicago’s next mayoral election will happen in February 2015.