Amid shouts of ‘Viva Mexico!’ Gov. Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel tipped back shots of tequila Sunday afternoon to help kick off the Mexican Independence Day parade in Little Village.
Tippling tradition complete, the parade commenced west of 26th Street from Kedzie Avenue.
Rauner led the procession, accompanied by his wife, Diana. A bevy of other pols — including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and former Gov. Pat Quinn — marched nearby as flag-waving caballeros stopped intermittently along the route to let children pet the snouts of their horses.
Speaking at a Mexican restaurant before the parade, Rauner told the crowd: “Today we celebrate freedom. We celebrate opportunity for the Mexican people, for all people, here and for all over the world.”
Emanuel also spoke, holding himself up as an example of what is attainable for people who come to the United States.
“My grandfather came a hundred years ago from Eastern Europe to flee the pogroms and the hatred towards Jews in Eastern Europe, and in two generations his grandson is the mayor of this city,” Emanuel said.
But neither Rauner nor Emanuel — who are friends — addressed the latest elephant in the room: a state budget impasse that leaves the Chicago Public Schools system, which is depending on a $500 million state infusion to shore up its finances for the year, in a precarious position.
Gov. Bruce Rauner toasts the crowd with tequila as part of a Mexican Independence Day celebration Sunday. Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times