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People’s Action Members Play a Key Role in Victory

WASHINGTON, D.C. — People’s Action and its members today celebrated Brandon Johnson’s election as mayor of Chicago, bringing home People’s Action’s vision of trusted elected officials working for public safety rooted in communities with good jobs, a sustainable economy, and a government that works for all of us. This vision includes fighting back against billionaires and greedy corporations driving inequality in our society. 

“We’re proud to have a true progressive champion for the multiracial working class at the helm in this new and exciting chapter for Chicago, the historic home of People’s Action,” People’s Action Movement Politics Director Marta Popadiak said.

Johnson’s win demonstrates the victories possible when candidates focus on meeting community needs and grassroots accountability, rather than divisive, fear-based, “tough-on-crime” messaging like that of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Voters rejected the diversion of public resources from essential public services, which has left many communities without good schools and hospitals. Paul Vallas, Johnson’s losing opponent, has a long record of privatizing schools and supporting racist austerity.The strong coalition of unions, organizing groups, progressive political organizations, elected officials, and Chicago voters from around the city who came together to support Johnson shows the power of a true grassroots movement united behind a vision of a city that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.

Johnson’s win has special significance for People’s Action, which is based in Chicago and was founded by Austin neighborhood activist Gale Cincotta and organizer Shel Trapp in 1972. People’s Action and its affiliates, including The People’s Lobby, have supported Johnson since his first campaign to become Cook County Commissioner in 2018. Members of these organizations knocked on thousands of doors, made tens of thousands of phone calls, and held in-depth conversations about public safety on his behalf in this and in previous election cycles.

“Last November, People’s Action organizing helped ensure that Illinois voters rejected Republican propaganda about criminal justice reform and re-elected state leaders who made Illinois the first state to end money bail. Today, Chicago showed that with the right organizing, voters are prepared to reject fear mongering on crime and are excited to support a vision for transformative change: taxing the rich, supporting workers’ rights, expanding public services, and improving public safety by providing real resources for communities.” said Will Tanzman, Executive Director of The People’s Lobby. 

“Chicagoans have worked tirelessly across the city to elect a rooted and strong progressive leader. Today that work paid off and our diverse movement of grassroots leaders know that Chicago again becomes a nation wide leader in the progressive movement,” said Jesse Hoyt, Executive Director of One People’s Campaign. 

“People’s Action’s Movement Politics program recruits, runs, and elects progressives into local and statewide offices across the country,” Popadiak said. “Since 2016, People’s Action has helped elect over 450 movement-politics candidates. The program focuses on electing women, people of color, low-income, and working class people who are grounded in progressive movement building with our member organizations. We are excited that Brandon is going to lead Chicago as a mayor for all of us.”

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People’s Action builds the power of poor and working people in urban, rural, and suburban areas to win change through issue fights and elections. We are a national network of 40 state and local grassroots power-building organizations in 29 states—united in the work of building a bigger “we.”

Contact: Nazz Aboutabl, n.aboutabl@peoplesaction.org, 202.316.9658

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About People’s Action

People’s Action is a national network of 38 state and local grassroots, power-building organizations united in fighting for justice. Our organization recently released a vision for a national Homes Guarantee that has already prompted major legislation from champions including U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Rashida Tlaib. We operate the largest progressive rural organizing project in the country. Prior to endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, we completed a national forum series that The Nation called “the most in-depth, people-powered forum” of the 2020 cycle.”