Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson kicks off countdown to inauguration at prayer breakfast

Sarah Schulte Image
Thursday, May 11, 2023
Mayor-elect Johnson attends prayer breakfast days before inauguration
Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson attended an interfaith breakfast just days before his inauguration date. Lori Lightfoot's last day is Friday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson kicked off the countdown to his inauguration at a prayer breakfast on Thursday with hundreds of Chicago's faith leaders.

A choir and a room full of faith leaders came together as Johnson, the son of a preacher, felt at home during his first inaugural event, where he was seated next to Rev. Jesse Jackson.

"Uniting this city is the only way forward, and bringing people together, with your brilliance, will bring together and better and safer Chicago. I'm confident of that," Johnson said.

SEE ALSO | Fred Waller tapped by Mayor-elect Johnson to serve as interim CPD superintendent

Johnson will need faith leaders and likely more than prayers to accomplish his goals. While his speech was more preacher than political, he used the story of Joseph from the Bible to take a swipe at those who previously supported other candidates.

"Sometimes, you can end up in a ditch by the very people you voted for. Oh, Chicago, we are family right? Sometimes, even democrats make bad decisions," Johnson said.

But, when it comes to picking staff, Johnson is confident in his decisions, which are heavily influenced by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Chicago Teachers Union.

Preckwinkle's budget director will become Johnson's budget director, and the CTU chief of staff will serve as deputy mayor of education. But, the mayor-elect didn't mention his new appointments in his speech, nor did he give any details about his plan to deal with the migrants, except to criticize certain politicians for pitting Black people and against brown people.

"It's unconscionable that politicians would use the travails that arrive in this country as a way to divide people," Johnson said.

READ MORE | Mayor Lightfoot says city lacks funds for incoming migrants, Mayor-elect Johnson to inherit crisis

The lack of detail from Johnson on issues does not come as a surprise to political consultant Delmarie Cobb.

"I think you'll get more substance from Brandon Johnson after the inauguration. My philosophy is, there can only be one mayor at a time," Cobb said.

But, Cobb said, by Monday afternoon, Johnson must hit the ground running and start offering more substance

While Johnson will be enjoying more inaugural festivities throughout the weekend before the hard work begins on Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot's last work day on the 5th floor is Friday.

SEE ALSO | Mayor Lori Lightfoot gives farewell speech