Abortion rights PAC endorses Johnson; Vallas lands George Cardenas' endorsement

Sarah Schulte Image
Wednesday, March 15, 2023
Johnson, Vallas outline public safety plans at mayoral forum
Chicago mayoral candidates Paul Vallas and opponent Brandon Johnson presented very different visions on how to address crime at a forum Tuesday evening.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- With the runoff for Chicago mayor now three weeks away, Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas are doing everything they can to build support.

Women came out to support Brandon Johnson Tuesday at Operation Rainbow Push as several elected South Side women banned together to offer their support after the abortion rights political action committee Personal PAC endorsed Johnson.

RELATED: Chicago mayoral election poll shows tight race between Paul Vallas, Brandon Johnson

"I'm dedicated to making sure that we are protecting the reproductive rights of women as well as protecting abortion rights," Johnson said.

Personal PAC CEO Sarah Garza Resnick accused Paul Vallas of staying silent on the fight for abortion rights in Illinois.

"The fight for reproductive rights in Illinois has been going on for decades," Garza Resnik said. "Where has he been all this time?"

RELATED: Chicago mayoral candidates Paul Vallas, Brandon Johnson jockey for endorsements

Vallas has said his position has never changed. While he is personally against abortion because of his Greek Orthodox religion, he is not against the choice for others.

"My personal views do not anyway interfere with my public position," Vallas said. "I've always been an unequivocal supporter of protecting a women's reproductive rights."

Vallas said voters are more concerned about public safety and their pocketbooks - two issues that drove some elected Latino officials to endorse Vallas Tuesday.

"Raising taxes is the last thing we need in the city," said Cook County Board of Review Commissioner and former alderman George Cardenas.

Cardenas criticized Johnson's plan to raise billions through new taxes. Vallas said this endorsement is an example of what he calls a "broad coalition."

"I'm running in every neighborhood, every community, every ward," Vallas said. "I think that's a further reflection of that factor there are more endorsements coming."

Vallas and Johnson focused on public safety during a mayoral forum Tuesday evening. Violence prevention groups, crime victims and faith-based groups made up the audience as the candidates presented different visions on how to address crime.

"There's no substitute for effective community-based policing with full accountability, and that means implementing the consent decree," Vallas said.

Johnson countered, "In the city of Chicago, we spend more on policing than Los Angeles and New York. And the question we have to ask, are we any safer?"

The candidates will debate in our ABC7 studios on Thursday.

You can watch "The People's Forum" at 7 p.m. on our digital channel 7.2, and on our streaming platforms.

You can also watch it Friday night after ABC7 Eyewitness News at 10 p.m. It will be rebroadcast on Sunday at 4 p.m.