I have been honored to serve the people of Chicago in several capacities for over two decades and to fight on their behalf. To hear from so many people I greatly admire that I should take the ultimate step forward for a Chicagoan dedicated to public service and run for mayor is a truly humbling experience.
Yet it is a step I have chosen not to take right now because the responsibilities before me are as important as any time in our country’s history. To truly serve you best, I believe that Congress is where it must be done.
I don’t make this choice lightly.
Chicago’s challenges require all of our attention as well as the vision and grit of a new mayor. Our law enforcement community and our citizens lack faith in each other, and the restoration of that trust won’t happen overnight. The challenges of educating all of our children for the jobs of the future never ceases. Our financial challenges limit the city’s ability to make sure everyone shares in our town’s prosperity.
Chicago’s next mayor cannot be careless or a caretaker. They must confront these challenges with a fierce determination, and they must do so in a way that unites what has been at times a fractured city. No candidate for this role should expect to give anything less than their all, while at the same time no Chicagoan should expect to see these challenges addressed in a single term.
This race demands reflection and honesty from us all.
But there is also something deeply wrong in Washington right now, and we must confront it. More than a different administration or a different political party in control of Congress, we need a set of leaders who are dedicated to rebuilding our middle class, restoring American’s leadership role in the world, confronting our partisan politics and bringing those who have perpetrated an attack against our democracy to justice.
As the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, I have the responsibility of overseeing funding for several key agencies where your interests must be heard. Specifically, I have oversight responsibilities for the General Service Administration (GSA), the Office of the President and the Supreme Court. Whether it be questioning the legality of the president’s private businesses that hold leases with the GSA, demanding accountability for actions taken by the justices of the Supreme Court or highlighting the way this president uses the White House to obfuscate and obstruct Congress, you deserve answers.
Further, through my service on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I have come to appreciate what keeps America safe and what puts that safety at risk. Russia’s attack on the 2016 election was a direct attack on our way of life and all of the democratic values that we stand for. The unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to take serious steps that will prevent similar attacks from happening again is an utter failure to put our own national security before the interests of partisan politics.
The next Congress has an opportunity to establish a bulwark against the hostile foreign powers who threaten our democracy and their witting or unwitting apparatchiks here at home.
These next years in Washington will be among some of the most momentous and challenging in our history. I hope to be a sober, helpful hand, and I know now is not the right time to walk away from these challenges in Washington.
I thank the many who have called to offer their support. I will remain an active voice in community with a deep interest in who leads our city next. There are good people who have stepped forward and others who are considering this race. I will help ensure they run a campaign worthy of the challenges of our city.
Chicago’s history is replete with examples of overcoming adversity in a spectacular fashion. We’ve raised up our city when the people needed us to make room for more, reversed a mighty river when the health of our city demanded it and rebuilt upon the ashes of unspeakable tragedy. I am confident that we can once again summon the courage to solve our city and our nation’s biggest challenges.
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley represents the Illinois 5th Congressional District.
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