One of the delegates at the Democratic National Convention says he has to play both sides of the aisle. Dan Montgomery, president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, is a full-throated supporter of President Obama. But he says at home in Illinois, the issues that confront teachers – including pension reductions, a pension cost-shift toward school districts and the growth of charter schools – are not strictly partisan, with many Republicans siding with the unions, and Democrats, including the governor and Senate president, standing in opposition to the teachers’ wishes.
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“We do work both sides of the aisle. We have good relationships with Republican lawmakers in Illinois as well, but we make the judgment that all told for education, we support the president and are working really hard for his re-election,” he said today in an interview from the convention in Charlotte, N.C. Montgomery says the stimulus program in 2009 preserved the jobs of 20,000 teachers in Illinois. Montgomery, an Evanston resident, is an Obama delegate from the Ninth Congressional District. He taught at Niles North High School in Skokie for 17 years.
The Illinois Federation of Teachers has 103,000 members across the state.