WEST ENGLEWOOD — A major labor union has made a big deal out of a 15th Ward candidate’s DUI arrest.
Ray Lopez won 47 percent of the vote in February's election, and he faces off against Rafael Yanez, who took 23 percent.
SEIU Local 1 created a mailer that reads, “Police line, do not cross. Raymond Lopez can’t focus on our schools, jobs or streets when he’s busy being cited for DUI.” A second one says: “Raymond Lopez’s $835 fine and citation for DUI prove he’s an embarrassment we can’t afford …”
A union representative did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to an arrest record, Lopez, a skycap for Southwest Airlines and a Democratic Ward committeeman, was arrested for DUI in 2008.
In an interview with DNAinfo Chicago, Lopez acknowledged that he made a “mistake” but said it was in the past.
“This is old news,” he said. “I was 26 at the time. Now, I’m not going to downplay the arrest. I’m sure a lot of 26-year-olds do not do smart things and obviously I was one of them, so I own up to my mistake.”
Lopez noted that that SEIU supports his opponent, Rafael Yanez, who declined to comment on the issue. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has given financial support to Lopez.
“As I’m sure many of my residents can attest to, everyone deserves a second chance and in the 10 years since, I think I have made myself a model of what, when given the opportunity, what a second chance can mean for people,” Lopez said.
“For SEIU to throw this out there, it first and foremost makes me question if they understand the importance of second chances, especially dealing with demographics where second chances are often denied to people, where a foolish mistake becomes a life sentence."
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