Who’s Who in Chicago’s Mayoral Race

Abigail Bovard
Staff Reporter

Graphic made by Zachary Wright.

With the Chicago Mayoral Election coming up on Feb. 26, it is crunch time to choose the best candidate to serve the city of Chicago. The race is crowded with 14 candidates running for mayor. Each candidate has their own unique views on why they wish to be mayor of Chicago.

        Bob Fioretti has been a lifelong resident of Chicago, growing up on the South Side. He is a practicing lawyer, and has been involved in numerous civil rights cases. Fioretti is advocating for a raise in Chicago’s revenue. Fioretti said he believed Chicago should have a casino, and even believes that marijuana should be legalized and taxed. He does not wish to raise property taxes or raise the municipal sales tax. Fioretti also said that he believed  the Chicago Police Department is in need of a reform and, due to his background as a Civil Rights attorney, believes he can take the right steps in bringing everyone together.

        Gery Chico is also running as a lifelong Chicagoan. He is a lawyer and has an abundance of government experience, although he has never held an elected position. He ran for Senate in 2004, but lost to former President Obama. Chico also ran for Chicago mayor in 2011, and lost to Rahm Emanuel. He is a big supporter of LGBTQ rights and women’s rights. During his run for Senate back in 2004, he was the only one to be a proud supporter of LGBTQ rights. Chico said he believes that in order to keep people’s hard earned pensions, the city needs to come up with different sources of revenue. Chico also said he believes that there needs to be a police reform in order to increase public safety.

        Amara Enyia is a business woman who has worked in top level city government positions, and she classifies her bid as grassroots campaign in her community in Chicago. Enyia ran back in the 2015 election but was unable to gain enough signatures to put her on the ballot. She said she believed that education is one of the most important issues across America. She said wants to form an elected school board and even change the way boundaries are drawn. Enyia said that in order to truly be the sanctuary city that Chicago says it is, everyone needs to be safe. “The city is not a sanctuary if we can’t be safe in our neighborhoods, access the type of healthcare necessary or get a quality education,” Enyia said.

        Bill Daley is the brother of former Mayor of Chicago, Richard M. Daley. He was a former top official for both the Clinton and Obama administrations. Daley said he believes in a police reform in order to gain back the public’s trust, therefore making neighborhoods safer and lowering crime. He also wants to make Chicago’s neighborhoods more affordable by increasing the supply of affordable housing, and in doing so, making sure people are not priced out of their homes and helping, and even preventing, homelessness. Daley thinks there needs to be changes in the education system by focusing on children’s development rather than building new schools.

        Garry McCarthy is a retired police officer from New York. He was the former Chicago Police superintendent and was fired by Mayor Emanuel. McCarthy said he believes that the government needs to be more open and honest. This is something he thinks Mayor Emanuel has failed at. He also said he believes that schools across the city should receive the funding they deserve in order to properly educate Chicago’s children. McCarthy says that fighting crime will be his first priority as mayor, and that his background as a police officer will help. He also said he believes that the city needs a large reform in order to get out of debt. McCarthy said, “Chicago needs a Mayor who knows what is right and who is willing to fight up for those who are being driven out of their neighborhoods by shady backroom deals that close our schools, constantly rising taxes, and runaway crime that infects every neighborhood.”

        John Kozlar is a lifelong resident of Chicago. He attended the John Marshall law school, and is currently an attorney in Illinois. He ran for Alderman in the 11th Ward in 2011 and 2015, but did not win. For education, Kozlar said he wants to give schools the resources they need to succeed. He said he believes Chicago needs a police reform in order to keep Chicago safe. Kozlar said he also wants to increase the city’s revenue, and be transparent with how the government spends taxpayers money.

The Mayoral Election will take place on Feb. 26. picture provided by WTTW Chicago

        Susana Mendoza is a former six-term Illinois state representative and is currently the state’s comptroller. Mendoza said she believes that public safety is a large issue in Chicago, and that there needs to be a police reform in order to fix the public safety issue. She said that she also believes that access to strong public education will change the city for the better. Mendoza also wants to fix the Chicago’s finances while protecting working families across the city.

        La Shawn Ford is Chicago born and has experience in teaching, real estate and as an insurance agent. Having had experience as a teacher, Ford said education is extremely important. He said he believes that having quality teachers and giving them benefits will change the education system for the better. Ford would also like to create new jobs, and make home ownership easier in order to create a more inclusive economy. Ford said he would also like to see safer neighborhoods by expanding mental health services and by enhancing police training.

        Jeremiah Joyce, Jr. is a business owner, an attorney and is a lifelong Chicagoan. He was an assistant state attorney for Cook County. When it comes to the issues, Joyce said he wants to build up communities as mayor. “Chicago has to get back to basics when it comes to the major issues we face. We need to pay our bills, educate our children and keep our communities safe,” Joyce said, further saying he wants to keep the community engaged, especially the youth, in order to reduce violence. He said he will improve government transparency.

        Lori Lightfoot has worked at the city and federal levels of government and has most recently been a senior equity partner at Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown LLP. As Mayor, she wants to create opportunity for all Chicagoans, no matter what walks of life they come from. Lightfoot said she wants to stop violence in the city and to reform the police department. Lightfoot said she wants to create new jobs and invest in Chicago’s neighborhoods. One stance Lightfoot has taken is the legalization of marijuana. “The war on drugs has disproportionately targeted people of color, tearing apart Chicago families and burdening taxpayers with costs of prosecuting these low-level offenses,” Lightfoot said.

        Neal Sales-Griffin is the CEO of a nonprofit organization called CodeNowm, aimed to help low income high school students learn how to software coding. Sales-Griffin said he wants to provide access to great schools across the city. He said public safety relates directly to public wellbeing, through this he wants to create an “Office for Violence Prevention” and provide access to mental health services for the whole of Chicago. Sales-Griffin said he also wants to be able to hold the government accountable for its actions. He said wants to show tax payers exactly what they are paying for and wishes to include the youth in important decisions.

        Dr. Willie Wilson was born in Louisiana, but has lived in Chicago for over 50 years. He ran in the 2015 election and gained 11 percent of the vote, causing a runoff. Wilson said he wishes to create safer neighborhoods by boosting neighborhood watch programs and by reopening community mental health centers. He said he believes that reopening closed schools across the city will give a greater access to education. Wilson said he also believes in the legalization of recreational marijuana in order to cut costs of policing and prosecuting marijuana related cases.

        Toni Preckwinkle was a teacher in Chicago for 10 years and an Alderman for the fourth ward for twenty. If elected as mayor, Preckwinkle said she wants to raise the minimum wage up to $15 an hour. Preckwinkle said she believes that changing the city starts with better education.. She said also wishes to investigate the unsolved murders of many transgender women of color and show the respect the LGBTQ community of Chicago. deserves.

Paul Vallas was born and raised in Chicago’s South Side. He served as the Revenue and Budget Director in Chicago. Vallas said he finds transparency in the government important, and truly wants to serve the citizens of Chicago. He also said he wants to provide the police department with the resources they need in order to reduce violent crimes. Vallas said he wants to create economic opportunity for all Chicagoans as mayor.



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