Andrea Zopp for senate?

There are candidates better equipped to serve Illinois

Opinion

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By Valerie Leonard

Contributor

I read in a March 31 Sun-Times article that Andrea Zopp is mulling a run for Senate. The article also mentioned something about the Dems needing to round out the ticket with a black person, given that Obama won't be on the statewide ticket, and Jesse White has been on the ticket for years (who knows, he may retire). I'm feeling very conflicted. Andrea Zopp is infinitely qualified. She was a darn good prosecutor. She's tough, smart and does her homework.

But I have HUGE issues with her walking in lock step with David Vitale. The two of them serve on the board of the Urban Partnership Bank and the Chicago Board of Education. Between the two of them, they have chosen to divest from the schools in the very neighborhoods in which they've invested mortgages.

Andrea Zopp has been the mouthpiece for the racist school policies, justifying 50 school closings in black neighborhoods. She's also admitted (in so many words), and defended, the CPS policy of divesting in low-income black communities in order to invest in more affluent communities.

Andrea Zopp has defended Deb Quazzo's glaring conflicts of interest, excusing the fact that her fellow board member has made millions of dollars indirectly from CPS while serving as a board member. She has also looked the other way on the AUSL conflicts of interest. AUSL has seen their business boom under the Emanuel Administration with a swinging door between them and CPS.

David Vitale used to be their board chair. Prior to that, he was the chief administrative officer for CPS. Tim Cawley, who doesn't even live in the city, used to be the AUSL's managing director. He now signs off on their contracts in his current role--as do Andrea Zopp and David Vitale. Carlos Azcoitia, another board of education member, is a professor at National Lewis University — the exclusive trainer for AUSL fellows. Carlos Azcoitia votes regularly for school turnarounds knowing that the only provider will be AUSL.

Where was Andrea Zopp, a trained lawyer, well-versed in ethics and governance when all this was going on? Where is she now that it's still going on? Can low income blacks really expect her to be a voice (not that poor blacks have a voice in our current Senators)?

I'd like to see other black candidates vetted for a senate run. Two people who come immediately to mind are state Senator Kimberly Lightford (4th) and state Senator Kwame Raoul (13th).

Both state senators are well-versed in policy, have assumed leadership roles on issues of concern to the black community, regardless of income, and are successfully navigating systems that are typically reserved for whites, while maintaining positive relationships with people across racial, class and political lines. They are better equipped to serve all citizens of Illinois.

Contact:
Email: consulting@valeriefleonard.com

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Black TeacherinTrouble from Chicago  

Posted: January 1st, 2016 12:46 PM

Lightford is responsible for Senate Bill 7: one of the most harmful pieces of legislation that negatively affects black teachers. She paved the way for a poor and biased contract, which, among other things, gives carte blanche to CPS principals (many of them black, also) to dismiss black teachers, having them to eventually defend their state credentials. Zopp and Lightford should not be proud they have contributed to the economic decline in the black community and the hurt of black students.

Melvin W Davis from chicago  

Posted: April 16th, 2015 5:15 PM

many people Know Ms. Zopp. Not that it makes a difference but , Their was a senator that was 93 years old from North or south Carolina . A very Young Person can learn get seniority and years down the road , make a difference. We have seen some very smart HS grads.

just sayin' from Chicago  

Posted: April 4th, 2015 2:57 PM

Bad news if she gets the nod...I'm NOT only stunned that she sits on the CPS school board but also the the teacher pension board as well...again, bad news!

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