Robert Peters: Reimagining Public Safety and Winning a Green New Deal
Sunrise Chicago enthusiastically endorses Sen. Robert Peters for 13th District State Senate
By DD Klionsky, Sunrise Chicago
An appointee to a seat with a storied history (the 13th district senate seat was the first elected office that Barack Obama held), Robert Peters wasted no time in his first year as a state senator, introducing and co-sponsoring 13 bills to reimagine public safety and build a more just Chicago. He introduced bills to end private prisons, cash bail, and other tools of mass incarceration; he co-sponsored bills on regulating big tech and providing civic education for ex-felons; and he has fought for a Green New Deal for our city and our state.
Illinois is no stranger to corrupt politicians who are only in it for themselves, so it’s a refreshing and necessary contrast to be represented by someone who is fighting hard for working class communities, people of color, families, currently and formerly incarcerated people, and young people of all backgrounds. It’s a refreshing and necessary contrast to be represented by someone who is an organizer, and who is deeply attuned and accountable to our movements. Someone who will fight for a livable future and create millions of good jobs in the process.
This track record, along with Sen. Peters’ commitment to continually fighting to reimagine public safety and end racism, are why Sunrise Chicago enthusiastically endorsed Sen. Peters during the March primaries, and we continue to endorse his candidacy in the general election. Sen. Peters embodies the kind of representation our movement is fighting for: he is boldly and unapologetically progressive, deeply invested in his community, and clear-eyed about the intersectional nature of the fights for justice and safety.
I’ve lived in Hyde Park my whole life, just like Sen. Peters, and last February I was thrilled to have the opportunity to phone bank for him with Sunrise Chicago in the Democratic primary. The first time I ever talked to voters about the senator, I was heartened by how many people told me that, though they were skeptical of Peters at first because he was appointed, rather than elected, they’d become staunch supporters after seeing what he was able to accomplish in his first year alone.
But I was even more amazed by something else: over the hours that I sat in his Hyde Park office phoning voters, I watched countless times as Robert walked amongst the phone bankers to check in on how it was going, share personal stories of talking to voters, and give honest and vulnerable tips to tricky policy questions that constituents often ask. A month later, when I went to Springfield for CEJA (Clean Energy Jobs Act) Lobby Day, Robert welcomed us into his office, answered detailed questions about the ins and outs of legislating in the Illinois Senate, and thanked us for taking the time to fight for legislation that matters. I remember feeling so proud that I got to call this man my representative.
The work Robert has done since he won his primary in March has only increased my respect for him and my pride in being his constituent. Two things come to mind in particular. The first is that he has been a relentless advocate for renters’ relief, introducing bills to ban evictions and cancel rent. The second is that during this summer’s uprising, he fully condemned the rampant police violence across our city, and — through his support of community safety initiatives like GoodKids MadCity’s Peacebook — we saw that he deeply understands the need to take money out of prisons and policing and reinvest that money into our communities. In a world where our leaders often disappoint us, I’m grateful to get to fight alongside people like Robert–people who understand without question that their role in government is to represent us and to be accountable to us. And I’m not alone: Sen. Peters has been endorsed not just by Sunrise Chicago but also the Chicago Teachers’ Union, SEIU, the People’s Lobby, United Working Families, and more, giving me a level of confidence and trust in him that is all-too-rare in politics.
So on behalf of Sunrise Chicago, I say to my neighbors in Peters’ district: let us make our voices heard loud and clear. A vote for Robert Peters is a vote for community investment, renters’ relief, and a Green New Deal. Whether you’re voting by mail, voting early, or voting on Nov. 3: vote for Robert Peters, stay safe and fight hard.