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.