The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa Dropped From Biss Ticket In Governor's Race Over Israel Stance

By Stephen Gossett in News on Sep 6, 2017 11:30PM

Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa speaks at a press conference on education equity outside the National Teachers Academy. Photo by Aaron Cynic.

In a bombshell announcement in the Illinois governors' race, State Sen. Daniel Biss has dropped Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) as his running mate over the alderman's stance on policy related to Israel. The announcement comes in the wake of Biss sustaining a high-profile lost endorsement over Rosa's comments. The removal comes just six days after Rosa joined the ticket.

"Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and I have reached a difficult decision about our ticket. As of today, I’ll be moving forward with a new running mate," Biss said in a statement. He went to note his personal family history—which includes grandparents who survived the Holocaust and great-grandparents who were killed under the Nazi regime.

The move hinges on Rosa's stance on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS), the pro-Palestinian campaign which advocates for various kinds of boycotts against companies that do business with Israel.

Biss said in his statement that he believes BDS "moves us further away from a peaceful solution" in the region. He said that Rosa initially told him he was also opposed to BDS
"Since we’ve announced his selection, we have been asked about his position on BDS. After much discussion, it’s become clear that Carlos’ position has changed."

Rosa—a 29-year-old leading figure in the City Council's progressive wing—in his own statement clarified his position:

"While I was honored to be chosen as Senator Daniel Biss’ gubernatorial running mate, it became clear over the past few days that while we share a total commitment to peace, security, and statehood for the Israeli and Palestinian people, and both oppose pursuing BDS at the state level, the difference of opinion we have on the role the BDS movement plays at the federal level would make it impossible to continue moving forward as a ticket."

The shakeup comes just three days after Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL 10th District) yanked his support for Biss over the candidate's choice to have Rosa run alongside him for lieutenant governor. "I was immediately concerned about some of Alderman Ramirez-Rosa’s past comments about the United States support of our ally Israel, and his affiliation with a group that is an outspoken supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel," Schneider said earlier in the week."

Schneider was referencing the Democratic Socialists of America, with which the rookie alderman is affiliated. The Chicago chapter of the DSA blasted Biss' decision as "cowardly."

The Democratic Socialists of America said in a statement:

"While we believe Carlos would have made an outstanding lieutenant governor of Illinois—as he has made an outstanding alderman of Chicago’s 35th Ward and an outstanding representative of the DSA—we also believe that his is a man of strong principle and great humanity. The Biss campaign asked him to forsake those principles and abandon that humanity by repudiating his support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and Carlos refused. We would rather have him fighting for the poor, the disenfranchised, and the marginalized in Logan Square than compromised in the governor’s mansion, beholden to special interests and lobbying groups for the wealthy and powerful.

The Chicago Democratic Socialists of America stand with Carlos Ramirez-Rosa and are proud that he is a member."

Bernie Sanders spinoff political organization Our Revolution Illinois/Chicago said in a statement the group was "disappointed and shocked" to hear of Rosa's dismissal from the ticket. Co-chairs Clem Balanoff and Abdelnasser Rashid said:

"Ald. Ramirez-Rosa was a delegate for Senator Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election and is a leading progressive voice in the Chicago City Council. We are proud of Carlos for the integrity he has shown in standing by his convictions as a strong and unwavering advocate for working families. We believe he was an excellent candidate for Lt. Governor and are saddened that his voice will be missing from Sen. Biss’ campaign."

The youngest alderman to serve on the City Council and the first openly gay Latino alderman, Rosa has seen his stature in local politics quickly rise as a proponent of progressive causes such as immigration rights, health care, free college tuition, and a $15 minimum wage.

"It's been an interesting six days," Rosa wrote on Twitter. He'll be at Crown Liquors in Avondale later Wednesday night, "if anybody wants to talk and grab a drink."