Teachers union president backs Ellison for DNC chair

Teachers union president backs Ellison for DNC chair
© Keren Carrion
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) on Friday picked up the backing of the head of the nation’s largest teachers union in his bid to lead the Democratic National Committee.
In a statement announcing her personal endorsement, National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García said she knows Ellison will be a unifying force for Democrats. 
“Keith’s emphasis and well-documented commitment to party building and grassroots organizing in every community is exactly what we need as the nation finds itself at a crossroad under the divisive Trump administration,” she said.
Eskelsen García’s endorsement comes just hours after the Service Employees International Union called on its members who can vote for DNC chair to cast their votes for Ellison.
Ellison has been jockeying for the support of leading labor organizations in the race against his chief rival for the post, former Labor Secretary Tom Perez. So far his supporters include the AFL-CIO, Teamsters, United Steelworkers, American Federation of Government Employees, Communications Workers of America, UNITE HERE and National Nurses United.
But at least five AFL-CIO affiliated groups have broken with the labor giant to back Perez over Ellison, including the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.
In a statement, Ellison said he is honored to receive Eskelsen García’s support and reiterated his plan to return Democrats to elected offices across the country at all levels of government.
“As Chair of the Democratic Party, I will make sure every Democrat and every educator has the tools and resources they need to fight attacks on public education, and to ensure every student has the opportunity to a quality education, regardless of their ZIP code,” he said.
“That means the DNC must institute more than a 50 state strategy. It needs a 3,143 county strategy, like the NEA.”