clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel launches bid for second term

Rahm Emanuel formally announced his re-election campaign for mayor Saturday at a West Side film studio, using the platform to compare the city today to a pre-Emanuel “old Chicago.”

In a setting that offered a contrast to the venue he chose to announce his election in 2010 — a North Side elementary school — Emanuel told a crowd Cinespace Film Studios has provided jobs to hundreds of Chicago families.

With no mention of the 50 schools he has closed, Emanuel launched into his push for college degrees for Chicago teens and also spoke of the importance of pre-kindergarten. He also said his battle for a longer school day has panned out, though it led in part to a nasty feud with the Chicago Teachers Union and the union’s first strike in 25 years.

“For decades, our children suffered from the shortest school day and school year in the country,” Emanuel said. “And tens of thousands of Chicago children – and their parents — were denied the benefits of a full day of kindergarten. We fought to change the status quo that was cheating our children of their future. And now graduation rates, test scores and attendance are at record highs and continue to rise.”

He stood on stage in front of 30 students from Senn and Phillips Academy who qualify for the Chicago STAR scholarship, which will offer a free college education at the City Colleges of Chicago for Chicago Public Schools students with a B average or better.

The ticketed crowd consisted of elected officials — U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, City Clerk Susana Mendoza and Secretary of State Jesse White, among them, as well as many Chicago aldermen and other supporters.

Emanuel appeared with his wife and two daughters. His parents were just off the stage.

Among Emanuel’s other campaign vows: bringing high-speed Internet to every neighborhood, investing in transportation by rebuilding the CTA’s Blue Line and the Red Line on the North Side and rebuilding playgrounds throughout the city.

Emanuel’s challengers in the mayoral race include Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd).

“There’s a real choice, whether we go back to an old Chicago that only worked for some, or keep building a new Chicago that works for all,” Emanuel said.

He also took a jab at “old Chicago” patronage.

“In the old Chicago, you got a job based on who you knew,” Emanuel said. “In the new Chicago, you get a job based on what you know. In the old Chicago, a government job often meant a credit card or free parking. In the new Chicago, we’ve cut those perks and put taxpayers first.”

Gutierrez credited Emanuel with raising the minimum wage in Chicago “so that those that live in poverty, those that have not been touched by the wealth of this nation have an opportunity to lift themselves, hundreds of thousands, by raising the minimum wage to $13 in the city of Chicago.”

Emanuel has raised more than $10 million for his campaign.