Former Kirk supporters now back Giannoulias

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Leaders from seven groups no longer trust Kirk                                                


(From the Giannoulias Campaign)                                                                              


    Saying they no longer trust Congressman Mark Kirk to lead on issues important to them, leaders from several Illinois reform and advocacy-based groups joined together today to show their support for U.S. Senate Nominee Alexi Giannoulias in the Nov. 2 election.

The Illinois Education Association, Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, League of Conservation Voters, Human Rights Campaign, NARAL and Defenders of Wildlife had all endorsed Kirk during his previous campaigns for the U.S. House.

The IEA, which has 133,000 members, had endorsed Kirk since 2002. IEA President Ken Swanson said he was disappointed in the “New Mark Kirk,” who recently voted against legislation that would bring millions of federal dollars to Illinois and save 5,700 teaching jobs throughout the state after indicating he would support it.

“We didn’t leave Mark Kirk,” Swanson said. “By turning his back on teachers and working families, Mark Kirk has left us. We haven’t changed, Mark Kirk has changed.”

Environmental groups – like the Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters and the Defenders of Wildlife – had all supported Kirk in the past as well. Kirk turned his back on them after voting for the Cap and Trade bill last year, which called for creating new jobs and developing a clean, renewable energy future, but then vowed to vote against the legislation if elected to the U.S. Senate.

“Sierra Club has supported Mark Kirk in the past, but we can no longer trust him to stand up for our environment. In his campaign for Senate, he stands solidly against a clean energy future and with the corporate special interests who have given us the failed energy policies of that past,” said Jack Darin, Director of the Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter. “Unlike Mark Kirk, we know where Alexi stands and we know that he will be a leader in the fight for a cleaner, more prosperous, and better future for our children and our country.”

Planned Parenthood endorsed Kirk four times in the past, but is now supporting Giannoulias for demonstrating “unequivocal support” for pro-choice issues. Kirk voted with pro-life groups in 2009 by supporting the Stupak Amendment to the federal health care bill, which would have restricted abortions for women even if they had private insurance.

“All women regardless of their economic status have a right to reproductive health care,” said Carole Brite, President/CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action. “Unfortunately, Mark Kirk does not support funding for abortion services, which is so important to women in Illinois. That is why we stand with Alexi Giannoulias now.” 

The Human Rights Campaign noted that Kirk voted against ending the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which threatens our national security and discriminates against military personnel, who are willing to serve and die for their country, because of their sexual orientation. The HRC also expressed its disappointment in Kirk for failing to support the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies the recognition of marriage of same-sex couples who marry in other states.

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