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‘You brought chaos’: Mayor Lightfoot defends record against challengers ‘Chui’ Garcia and Brandon Johnson

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Monday accused Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson of causing “turmoil” in Chicago’s schools and his supporters, the teachers’ union, in his first term, as U.S. Congressman Jesús “Chuy”. García is a bogus reformer, and his ties to indicted former Speaker of the House Michael Madigan undermine his claims that he will become an independent mayor.

challengers In response, he rampaged crime in Chicago, broke key campaign promises, and ripped the mayor out for being the militant and ineffective leader of America’s third-largest city.

The heated 90-minute debate on the Tribune editorial board came almost five weeks after the February 28 election. Following her tumultuous first term in which she has to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, sometimes violent protests, a surge in crime, and what she calls an “economic meltdown,” Lightfoot is 8. trying to secure a second term in office while facing a challenger. Other candidates in the field met with a board separate from Newsroom last week.

Garcia made a second bid for the city’s top office, but downplayed his relationship with Madigan. The Tribune says Garcia is an unidentified member of Congress, citing federal court filings detailing Madigan’s plan to nominate one of Garcia’s political associates to a lucrative office. After I reported it. A position on the Board of Directors of Commonwealth Edison. Garcia has not been accused of wrongdoing, and she denies playing any role in helping Madigan appoint Juan Ochoa to the utility’s board of directors.

Responding to a question about his connection to the former chairman, Garcia cited the early days of his political career in the 1980s, working with Harold Washington, the city’s first black mayor, to oppose him. To oppose a coalition of mostly white city council members and partner with the historic Chicago machine.

“Let me remind you and everyone in the room that an elected official who has fought machines as long as I have is not in office today. He added that anyone with a .

“You don’t become a shark if you listen to the people who sent you somewhere just because you swam with a shark,” Garcia said. ”

Mayoral Candidate United States Congressman Jesus "Chui" Garcia speaks with Chicago Tribune editorial board members and staff at the Chicago Tribune Freedom Center in Chicago on January 23, 2023.

The answer did not satisfy Lightfoot. He said, “What[Garcia]decided after losing in 2015 was obviously, ‘If we can’t beat them, let’s join them.’ I came.”

Lightfoot also clashed violently with Johnson, the longtime leader of the Chicago Teachers Union, over education. She blamed the influential labor unions for the decline in Chicago public school enrollments. “I’ve talked to a lot of parents,” citing uncertainties that have arisen. “It hurts CPS.”

Johnson later pointed out that the mayor broke the 2019 election promises of the elected school board that governs Chicago Public Schools after opposing a bill that prevailed in Springfield in 2021, and that it would be tricky. Lightfoot campaigned for an elected school board, but quietly abandoned that promise when she took office.

“The problem is we brought democracy to the city of Chicago,” Johnson said.

Lightfoot sneered and retorted, “You brought chaos.”

Garcia argued that enrollment in Chicago and its public schools has shrunk due to fears of crime and that he has promised to double CPS funding if Springfield is elected. bottom.

Mayoral Candidate Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson speaks with members and staff of the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board at the Chicago Tribune Freedom Center in Chicago on January 23, 2023.

“We need someone who has those relationships, who understands how those relationships work, and who can contribute to Chicago,” Garcia said. “That’s why I continue to argue that I am the best person to lead the city in this day and age.”

Lightfoot went on the offensive after Johnson and Garcia criticized her approach to leading police at a time when crime was intensifying and in the presence of a consent decree. She pledged to fully comply with the consent decree over the next four years, and Johnson said she “doesn’t know what’s going on” there. Calling a supporter, she said it was something she would “never” do.

Garcia said he has a list of the bills he voted for.

Lightfoot brought a printout citing Johnson’s support for redistributing spending to law enforcement and claiming he was a “defender.”

During his first term as Cook County Commissioner, Johnson was a major sponsor of a symbolic resolution calling for the withdrawal of funds from police and prisons following the murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. Government budgets have seen only modest and temporary cuts in the face of acute budget shortfalls seen across county offices.

Lightfoot also cut the budget of the Chicago Police Department slightly in 2020, so some critics blamed her cash flow.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks with members and staff of the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board at the Chicago Tribune Freedom Center in Chicago on January 23, 2023.

Responding to the “payback” criticism, Johnson said the city spends more on policing than on education, and that approach isn’t working.

“We spend more on prisons and incarceration than on educating young people,” Johnson said.

Johnson also went after Garcia, an absentee politician who did not speak out on various issues in the Latino region, such as General Iron’s attempt to move to the Southeast Side and the Hilco bombing in Little Village. described him as

“He’s referring to her,” Garcia said, nodding to Lightfoot. Johnson reiterated that Chicagoans “didn’t hear him” on these issues.

“She has a name,” Lightfoot retorted.

The session began with Lightfoot not apologizing when asked about criticism from her challenger for being too hostile.

“Look, I’m tough. There’s no if or but for that,” said Lightfoot. “And I think the people of the city voted for me to be mayor. It’s also for the honesty you bring to the company. Focus on disrupting the status quo.”

Lightfoot also tried to stifle any insinuations that he wouldn’t be able to get along with others, saying he wouldn’t have been able to close the large deficit during the pandemic without his relationship with the city council and beyond. bottom.

The mayor later said, “I can write a PhD.” After the storm of national crisis that colored the first semester, “Thesis on Crisis Management” and “Collaboration”. But even if she wins her re-election, she’s not going to promise a brand new Lightfoot City Hall.

“I’m 60,” said Lightfoot. “I’m not going to completely change my personality at this age.”

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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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