Local leaders celebrate Obama, city's image

CHICAGO It's an image Chicago's leaders are celebrating.

"You could not have had a better advertisement for an economic strategy for our city," said Jerry Roper, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

With the Windy City in the spotlight, many hope Chicago will economically benefit by having the Obamas in the White House.

"The mayor and members of city council will have the president's ear. I think that absolutely has to benefit the city," said Ald. Joe Moore, 49th Ward.

"It's a lot easier to pick up the phone and talk to president of the United States and say, 'We need help here,'" said Ald. Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward.

And several city councilmen are already making their wish lists.

"I think this is tremendous opportunity to make Chicago the hub and heart of high speed rail network," said Ald. Toni Preckwinkle, 4th Ward.

"We haven't gotten federal money for public safety in a long time. We haven't had money to build schools, capital projects in the city," said Ald. Ike Carothers, 29th Ward.

If Chicago is handed more federal dollars and projects, 24th Ward Alderman Ike Carothers says he is not concerned about any accusations of pork being served from the White House.

"A lot of projects people call pork projects are actually good projects," said Carothers.

But before City Hall gets too excited about the prospect of projects, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Roper said it's important to get all local and state public officials together to come up with an economic strategy to sell to Washington.

"We know that Barack Obama is going to be the president of the United States of America, and so he will focus on trying to bring back I think all these urban cities in America," said Roper.

After last night's world wide exposure, the Chicagoland Chamber Of Commerce says Chicago is likely to economically benefit in other ways. Roper is expecting a surge in tourism and possibly convention business in Chicago.

Mayor Daley does not have a specific wish list for Obama, but said it will be helpful for all cities to have a president who understands urban issues.

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