Challenger refuses to accept corporate cash, calls for pension & education funding, and a living wage.
CHICAGO, IL — Vowing to put the concerns of taxpaying citizens over corporate interests, local attorney and community volunteer Bart Goldberg kicked off his campaign to unseat 15-year incumbent Senator Iris Martinez this week, offering one of the few legitimate primary challengers to a sitting legislator in Cook County.
“I firmly believe that for our electoral process to work, voters must be given a fair choice,” Goldberg said. “Unlike so many voters in Illinois, I intend to give the voters of the 20th district a clear option. This election is a choice between someone new, who will not take a single dime from lobbyists or corporations, and a career politician who serves her corporate donors and party leaders first. We know this won’t be an easy race, but I believe the voters in my community are ready to see some real change.”
While never holding public office before, Goldberg says he prides himself on spending a great deal of time studying issues and doing his policy homework. In addition to pushing for meaningful campaign finance reform that gets the corporate money out of politics, Goldberg strongly supports raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour to help working families earn the living wage they deserve. He also intends to aggressively attack the state pension problem, which Goldberg says is a crushing weight around the neck of state government.
“Pension debt threatens our entire state, not just the retirees who earned their retirement and don’t deserve to have it threatened because of government mismanagement,” Goldberg said. “This is a problem that career politicians like Sen. Martinez ignored for decades because it was politically convenient to do so. Now it threatens our social safety net and is a major factor behind the continued education funding crisis coming out of Springfield. We need to increase the funding for our pensions, to own up to the mistakes made by a previous generation of politicians, and get ourselves on a fiscally responsible path before we ruin our great state for our children.”
Goldberg has pledged to take his message door-to-door in the district and will engage in a campaign that focuses on personal interaction, word of mouth and earned media. While acknowledging he has his work cut out for him, he notes the appetite for real reform he has already seen among voters in the district.
“Look at what my friend State Rep. Will Guzzardi was able to do a few years ago. He toppled one of the most entrenched political families in Cook County and rallied a coalition of voters who were willing to listen to a message about real change and tune out a wave of expensive and false negative attacks,” Goldberg said. “That’s the model I will be running on. I won’t have lobbyists lined up at a Springfield fundraiser handing me $5,000 checks, but I will have my family, a core group of dedicated volunteers, a good pair of walking shoes, and a whole lot of voters who want to see serious change. We think that will be enough to make a little history.”
On a more personal note, Goldberg lives with his wife Missy and daughter Emma in their 45th Ward home. When going door-to-door in the district, he receives the most comments about the page of his website devoted to Pokey, the official 20th District Dog, who is an indispensable member of the campaign team. Goldberg has had two brushes with fame in his life: 1) While in college, he performed in a garage rock band that opened for the legendary Ramones; 2) Later, at law school, his classmates included James Comey (former FBI Director) and Amy Klobuchar (US Senator from Minnesota). Neither have kept in touch.
Thee 20th Senate District includes parts of Chicago’s 1st, 26th, 30th, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 35th, 36th, 38th, 39th, and 45th Wards