Op-Ed By Chairman of AMVOTE PAC, Judge William Haddad (Ret.)
AMVOTE’s position on Gubernatorial Endorsement of J.B Pritzker
February 16, 2018
AMVOTE PAC (est. 2006) is now the first Arab-American Political Action Committee in Illinois history. Our strong voter outreach initiatives seek to use political power to achieve equal rights and opportunities for Arab and Muslim Americans right here in Illinois, utilizing our broadly based, “blue chip” 28-member Advisory Board, and our 9-member Executive-Endorsement Committee which recently vetted candidates for several offices, including Governor of Illinois. AMVOTE is not a “foreign policy” lobby. Our politics is strictly local.
ENDORSEMENT FOR GOVERNOR
Significantly, all three gubernatorial candidates personally appeared before our Committee in downtown Chicago seeking AMVOTE’S endorsement. We found all three candidates well qualified, but we endorsed J.B. Pritzker, for reasons largely reflected in his speech before a DuPage County Arab/Muslim Democratic Rally in Willowbrook, Illinois just last night. After Pritzker thanked AMVOTE for our endorsement, he told a packed crowd of Arab and Muslim Americans:
“If the government tries to ‘register’ Muslims, I’ll be the first to sign up…”
“I have opposed the Muslim Ban—I went to O’Hare to protest the travel ban and to be with other attorneys to help Arab and Muslims through immigration”
“I will make Illinois a ‘Sanctuary ‘ state”
“We must get rid of this racist, Islamophobic President.”
Pritzker pledged to revamp the Arab/Muslim Advisory Board and place qualified community representative in the high echelons of Illinois Government.
JB Pritzker has demonstrated that he has the management and political skills necessary to achieve goals of both the communities represented by AMVOTE, and Illinois as a whole.
When AMVOTE vetted the gubernatorial candidates, we did not seek apologies, for example, from Chris Kennedy who, as chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees “offered no apologies for the decision to deny faculty job to controversial professor Steven Salaita”, (Ctrl Ill. News Gazette 9/9/14), or Dan Biss for dropping his running mate who “favored Divestment”, or Pritzker who disparaged a Muslim group in 1998 as “terrorist”.
However, Pritzker was the only one to own up to what he said and he adamantly apologized — He accepted responsibility for his previous statements. See detailed “Candidate Profiles” HERE
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WHO IS AMVOTE?
In the past year AMVOTE successfully authored and sponsored resolutions in the Chicago City Council condemning hate speech and hate crime, condemning the travel ban, and the registration of Muslims. AMVOTE sponsored press conferences and television appearance to promote these causes and enlisted the legal establishment through “Rule of Law” seminars to garner support for our community’s welfare.
In 2016 AMVOTE’s media blitzes, direct mailers and robo calls doubled our community’s voter turnout in Cook County and exceeded 70% in selected districts where we focused on candidates who had a very strong record of support for Arab and Muslim Americans.