U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis and other West Side elected officials gathered Sunday to make public their endorsement of Chris Kennedy, one of several Democrats seeking the party’s gubernatorial nomination.
“I want somebody in office that I can believe in, that I can go to the bank with what they say,” Davis said alongside Kennedy and some of his family at Greater St. John Bible Church.
Davis spoke of his admiration for the Kennedy family and his experience working closely with since-deceased U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy on healthcare legislation.
“Good fruit does not fall too far from the tree,” Davis said.
Kennedy, who previously served as chair of the Board of Trustees for the University of Illinois, said Davis had a history of pushing him on issues like increasing the diversity of students and staff in the university system.
“This endorsement is more than just testimony, it’s a covenant,” Kennedy said. “I know if I don’t do the things as governor that I promised the congressman and his allies that I would do, that the congressman will stand up to me, report back to all of you and hold me to the promises that I have made.”
Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin said Kennedy and his running mate, activist Ra Joy, would provide the necessary leadership to combat gun violence in Illinois.
“They truly understand this from a level that none of us can understand unless we’ve been touched by gun violence like that in a personal way,” Boykin said.
Kennedy’s father Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated during his 1968 presidential campaign, and Joy’s son Xavier Joy was killed earlier this year.
Kennedy previously released an eight-point plan that calls for economic investment, stronger gun laws and community policing.
Billionaire businessman J.B. Pritzker, who is also running for the Democratic nomination for governor, has secured endorsements from other West Side politicians including Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th), Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) and Ald. Walter Burnett (27th).
Pritzker has also raised more than $35 million, the most of any Democratic candidate, with the vast majority of funds coming from his own fortune, according to data from the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
While Pritzker was not mentioned by name at Sunday’s event, former Ald. Bob Shaw (9th) made reference to the influence of money in the race.
“We need to say, ‘Chris Kennedy is the guy,’” Shaw said. “And don’t be bashful because money don’t vote, people vote.”
“I got a lot of friends who would like to endorse Chris Kennedy, but they’re scared,” Davis said, referring to other elected officials he said had chosen to “straddle the fence.”
Other Democrats seeking the party’s nomination are state Sen. Daniel Biss, community organizer Tio Hardiman, downstate school superintendent Bob Daiber, small-business owner Alex Paterakis and physician Robert Marshall.