Will Chicago get its first Black female mayor?


Midwest / Illinois 42 Views

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle

Crusader Staff Report

As Chicago’s mayoral race continues to flood with candidates after Rahm Emanuel’s decision to not seek reelection, there is a possibility that Chicago could get its first Black female mayor while keeping a Black female as Board President.

The crowded field of 13 candidates may soon grow as politicians and public officials continue considering running for Chicago Mayor. At least six people are weighing their options now that Emanuel is out of the race. Emanuel’s decision not to run has opened up possibilities for candidates whose chances were slim or were reluctant to run against a mayor in an uncertain political climate.

There are 13 candidates who have officially announced their run for Chicago mayor. The latest candidate is William “Dock” Walls, who is circulating petitions to get his name on the ballot. Walls has run for Chicago mayor four times, the last time in 2011.

Out of those considering a mayoral run, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has the biggest profile and appeal. A former alderman, Preckwinkle will automatically be elected to a third term as Board President in November because she’s running unopposed. Should she decide to run and replace Emanuel, she will not only become the city’s first Black female mayor, she will leave the door open for another Black female, Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims to replace her as Board President, according to board rules. It would be the first time that Chicago and Cook County would be headed by Black females at the same time.

That possibility could also happen with two other Black females who are candidates for Chicago Mayor. Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown and former Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot are mayoral candidates. Another black female candidate, attorney and activist Amara Enyia is in the race, but her profile is not as strong as Brown’s or Lightfoot’s.

Brown, who’s known for winning campaigns despite opposition and negative publicity, has been campaigning in Black neighborhoods through her “Chicago Listening Tour.” On Tuesday, September 18, Brown will take her tour to Avalon Park, South Chicago, Calumet Heights, South Shore, South Deering, East Side and Hegewisch.

Lightfoot, a 56-year-old attorney and openly gay resident, has been quiet since Emanuel announced his decision. But with the Laquan McDonald trial and pending consent decree with the Chicago Police Department, some say Lightfoot may be the best candidate who voters can trust to lead the city through a tumultuous period. She was widely viewed as Emanuel’s biggest challenger before he decided to run to for a third term.

Lightfoot has called for a $15 minimum wage in Chicago (the current wage is $12), more investment in neighborhood schools, and increased police accountability.

Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers is mulling a mayoral run but as an official appointed by Mayor Emanuel, he may find it difficult for Black voters to support him at the polls.

Retiring Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who’s in negotiations with the city to finalize a Consent Decree for the Chicago Police Department, said she will not run for Chicago Mayor.

“I am a lifelong resident of Chicago. I care deeply for the city,” Madigan said in a statement. “There are a lot of challenges facing Chicago, and I plan to continue helping as a resident and not as mayor.”

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