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Luis Gutierrez is the big loser in Tuesday’s Illinois primary
By Ray Hanania — After an election, it’s not unusual to weigh the winner’s and the losers. Usually, the winners and the losers are the people who are actually running for public office, the candidates.
In the case of this past Illinois primary, one candidate who “won” his party’s nomination was in fact the biggest loser, U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez in the 4th Congressional District.
Gutierrez easily won his party’s nomination. Like a Middle East dictator, Gutierrez was unopposed in his election. He “won” with 99.9 percent of the vote. Only a few people voted against him by entering write-in candidacies.
But Gutierrez is a loser and was the biggest loser in the March 20 election primary.
Gutierrez, a former Chicago alderman, backed and funded and supervised the campaigns of four candidates. They are:
• Rudy Lozano, who ran for the Illinois House seat in the 21st legislative district, challenging Silvana Tabares;
• Robert Reyes, who ran for the Illinois House sat in the 24th legislative district; who challenged incumbent Representative Lisa Hernandez;
• Raul Montes, Jr., who ran for the Illinois Senate seat in the 12th legislative district, challenging incumbent Illinois Senator Steve Landek (Note: i do media work for Landek);
• Ricardo Munoz, who ran for the office of Circuit Clerk of Cook County, who challenged incumbent Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown.
What’s significant beyond his defeat in all four of these races is the issue of race itself. Gutierrez is Puerto Rican. All of the candidates he backed are Mexican American.
Why is that significant? Well, it’s significant because Gutierrez’s congressional district is half Puerto Rican and half Mexican American. The Puerto Rican population dominates the north end of his odd-shaped district. Mexican Americans dominate the south end of the district.
And that explains Gutierrez’ selfish political agenda.
Gutierrez is intentionally focusing on keeping the Mexican American community divided. That’s why he runs Mexican American candidates against incumbents in Mexican American districts.
By keeping the Mexican American community divided, Gutierrez can preserve his Puerto Rican power in his congressional district. Because if Mexican Americans were united, they could easily oust Gutierrez and elect one of their own in that congressional seat.
There are no Mexican Americans from Illinois in the U.S. Congress. And as long as Luis Gutierrez interferes in Mexican American community politics, keeping them divided and fighting, he will protect his own self-interests.
The March 20 election battles that Gutierrez lost are a precursor to several more elections that Gutierrez is promoting in several West suburban communities including in the Town of Cicero (where I work as the Town spokesman) and the City of Berwyn.
But voters clearly have seen through Gutierrez’s selfish political hypocrisies. They rejected his candidates, although Gutierrez did succeed in dividing Mexican Americans, again, as he has been doing since his election to Congress in the predominantly Mexican American congressional district in the 1990s.
And they could take this one step further and challenge Gutierrez in the November General elections.
Currently, there is no Republican candidate challenging Gutierrez. But there should be. He doesn’t deserve re-election. Gutierrez is a firebrand who is quick to criticize and then even quicker to make a political deal. He spends more time sticking his political nose in other areas of Chicagoland than effectively representing his residents; his district has been ranked as one of the worst when it comes to getting services.
Guiterrez is playing race politics because it benefits him. By keeping Mexican Americans divided, he can retain his congressional seat and allow his family and especially his wife to benefit from his congressional clout.
The truth is that the 4th District was drawn to give Mexican Americans a representative in Congress. As long as they allow Luis Gutierrez to manipulate their politics, that district will never materialize.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and Chicago radio talk show host Sundays at 8 am on WSBC AM 1240 and WCFJ AM 1470. www.RadioChicagoland.com)
This post has already been read 166 times!
Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
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