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US Rep. Jesús ‘Chuy’ García Ramps Up Campaign for Mayor: ‘I Want To Come Back Home’

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U.S. Representative Jesús “Chuy” García endorsed Mayor Lori Lightfoot four years ago when she decided not to run for mayor.

But now, he is the latest to join a long and wide list of mayoral candidates vying to deny Lightfoot a second term.

“I believe Chicago needs new leadership who can bring people together, someone who is rooted in the Chicago experience, knows the neighborhoods, understands the realities of the people, and someone who can bring the people of Chicago together,” García said in an interview with “Chicago Tonight .”

García is a lifelong resident of Little Village. He believes Lightfoot’s recent “fighting” way of handling conflict in the city council is the opposite of what Chicago needs.

“People feel insecure… to make that reality change, you need someone who is cooperative and doesn’t show that kind of conflict unnecessarily… There are few results to show for a significant increase in the city budget. Chicago is known for the pugnacity that has been on full display, now due to broadcast board meetings, petty bickering, constant texting… it hasn’t been unifying and the kind of leader we need to emerge from the pandemic to make Chicago is a thriving city, with thriving neighborhoods,” García said.

García is a familiar face to many as the only candidate to have served in government at nearly every level during his nearly half-century career in Illinois politics.

“I’ve learned that taking care of business and the United States Congress is good for the city of Chicago,” García said. “I am very proud to be a part of this Congress that has provided pandemic relief, assistance to the state of Illinois… I think we have kept the country from sinking into a recession or worse. Without the support we have sent to Chicago and Illinois, the economy would be in a very dire state.”

Four years ago, García surprised the political world by backing former House Speaker Mike Madigan for the presidency of the Democratic party. Madigan is now facing more than 20 federal corruption and bribery charges.

García said he doesn’t regret making that endorsement, even though the allegations and alleged corruption plan surprised him.

“In 2016, Bruce Rauner was governor of the state of Illinois trying to make the state a right-to-work state, opposing a minimum wage increase, taking anti-working-class positions,” he said. “Illinois workers’ leaders have asked me to support a right-wing challenger. I did it. I have no regrets about it. It was important for organized labor to protect the workers of Illinois. That was the motivation.”

As a member of Congress, García has received donations from disgraced former CEO Sam Bankman Fried who created the cryptocurrency firm FTX, which went belly up. García said he has since given the donations to charity.

“One of the things I’ve read that he [Sam Bankman] the key was the preparation for the COVID pandemic,” García said in reference to the donations he has received. “It may have been a way to woo several members of Congress. The support provided was in the form of an independent expenditure. We had no oversight, no coordination, no knowledge until we saw this happening in the district. The money was returned… I have a long history of cryptocurrency skepticism. I think they should be regulated very tightly. I have been a fierce supporter of it. I have suggested it to the regulatory agencies that periodically come before us to report. I care about the financial system, I protect it”.

Other notable candidates announcing a mayoral run include Lightfoot, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, Willie Wilson, State Representative Kam Buckner (D-Chicago), Paul Vallas, Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward), Ja’mal Green and Ald. Sophia King (Fourth Ward).

The election is February 28th. If no candidate receives a majority of votes, the top two finishers will go to a runoff on April 4.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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