State’s largest union backs Republican Dan Brady for Secretary of State
State Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington is the only Republican seeking statewide office to get the endorsement of the Illinois Education Association (IEA), the largest union in the state.
“In our discussions, what I spoke to was the role of the Secretary of State’s office as it pertains to education,” Brady said.
Brady, who has represented Bloomington-Normal in the Illinois House since 2001, is running against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, a former Illinois treasurer and candidate for U.S. Senate.
The Illinois Education Association (IEA) declined an interview, but said in a statement it's decision to back Brady was based on his long track record of supporting public education in his district. “The IEA board decided to recommend Brady for Secretary of State based on the strong relationships he has had for the past 20 years with both teachers and education support staff,” said IEA president Kathi Griffin.
Brady said his ideas for the Secretary of State audience found a receptive audience with the teacher’s union, including more focus on driver's education and using the office's role as state librarian to help to direct grants to libraries in southern Illinois that lack high-speed internet.
The IEA endorsement is just one of many the two candidates are competing for ahead of election day on Nov. 8. Giannoulias has a significant financial advantage in the race, outspending Brady 10 to 1, based on state elections data from the latest reporting period ending in June.
Brady said gaining the approval of the educator’s union is significant.
“I think what it shows is I am able to attract business support and labor support. When you are able to do that as a candidate that speaks just like a bipartisan fashion as a representative,” he said.
The Giannoulias campaign declined to comment on the IEA choosing Brady, but a spokesperson indicated the Democratic candidate has secured a long list of labor endorsements, including the Illinois AFL-CIO and Illinois Federation of Teachers. Brady said he was never contacted by any of the unions that backed Giannoualias.