Paul Vallas launches campaign for Chicago mayor, calls Emanuel 'Trump-like' liar

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Paul Vallas, a former Chicago budget director and one-time CPS CEO, kicked off his campaign for Chicago mayor on Wednesday.

He said he wants to run an issues-oriented campaign, but made clear that he's ready to rumble with Mayor Rahm Emanuel if needed.

"People don't like the mayor. Sorry, they don't like you, you're a bully, you intimidate people," Vallas said during his hour-long campaign kick-off news conference at the City Club of Chicago.

Vallas hammered Mayor Emanuel on crime, the city's budget and pension problems, the population exodus, and school closings.

"I'm running because the city's in deep trouble, and I have the experience and the track record of success to offer and implement solutions to effectively and affordably address the city's issues," Vallas said.

The Emanuel campaign has blamed Vallas for starting the pension mess before he left his job as head of the Chicago Public Schools.

"He's going to say that over and over again, he's going to tell the big lie, very Trump-like if you ask me," Vallas said, adding that pensions were fully funded when he departed in 2001.

"I intend to make the tough decisions, the decisions that are needed to be made and I intend to do that on day one," Vallas said.

Vallas also took a swipe at the mayor over his handling of the Laquan McDonald police shooting

"I believe if he hadn't seen the video he should have, and I believe that he should have disclosed the video before the election, period," Vallas said.

Meanwhile, Emanuel surrogates, including two alderman and a state representative, fired shots at Vallas over his comments this week about not supporting $175 million in taxpayer dollars for the Obama Presidential Center.

"To all of a sudden turn your back on something that is unprecedented in the scale and scope of its job creation, education and cultural benefits, doesn't understand when it comes to equity and make sure that all parts of the city are growing together," Mayor Emanuel said.

Vallas said while he supports the center he would look for other ways to fund it. Vallas said his wife Sharon knows there will be a price to pay in what he expects to be a rough-and-tumble campaign.

"I am running to win but I'm also running to generate ideas," Vallas said, promising to roll out specific solutions to the city's problems in the weeks ahead.
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.