When he first took a job at the Centralia Correctional Center in Illinois, Keith Kracht knew that a career in public service wouldn’t make him a millionaire. But then again, that’s not why he went into public service.
All he wanted was a stable job, a middle-class income to support his family and the chance to serve his community. He knew that a job in corrections would be inherently dangerous and that it wouldn’t be a job he could do in old age, so the health and retirement benefits that came with it were important to him and his family.
For more than a decade, Kracht has worked at Centralia – first as a correctional officer, then as a correctional educator – and been able to live his modest dream, the dream of many Americans: to raise a family, make a decent living and retire with dignity.
Yet, since 2014, Illinois’ billionaire governor has threatened to destroy that dream. “What he wanted was to balance the state budget on our backs,” says Kracht. “And that wasn’t a fair shake.”
Backed by powerful corporations and special interests, Gov. Bruce Rauner would most likely have succeeded by now if not for tens of thousands of public service workers across the state, like Kracht and his co-workers, who are members of AFSCME Council 31 and are standing together to protect their families.