Chicago Mayoral Forum focuses on issues impacting African-American community

Eric Horng Image
Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Chicago Mayoral Forum focuses on issues impacting Black community
Who is running for mayor of Chicago? Monday's forum between Chicago mayor candidates focused on issues impacting African-Americans.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Monday night's forum focused on issues impacting the African-American community.

Some of the sharpest exchanges occurred between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Brandon Johnson.

"If Commissioner Johnson is not planning to impose a tax on people earning a $100,000 or more, he should say right here and right now that he will never support such a plan," Lightfoot said.

Johnson referenced property taxes, but not income taxes.

"We're going to make up to $1 billion into critical investments without raising property taxes. The mayor continues to mislead people, and so our folks have lost confidence in her," Johnson said.

The nine candidates were asked about their plans for stemming the tide of Black residents leaving the city.

"Our administration will make sure we invest in housing and make sure that we're increasing our affordable housing supply as well as making a pathway to home ownership," Ja'Mal Green said.

Willie Wilson also weighed in.

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"Unless you can get these taxes down, crime and taxes, everything else is going to go downhill," he said.

They were asked how to increase the ranks of Black police officers.

"We have to make sure that we can re-establish that trust between the community and police once again. Until we do that, Black applicants are just not going to apply," Roderick Sawyer said.

Paul Vallas also provided his thoughts.

"You recruit on military bases. I'm not suggesting the city is not doing that, but obviously that... you get real diversity when you recruit directly from the military," Vallas said.

They also talked about how to reduce discriminatory bank lending practices.

"It is the mayor's office that has to set the tone. The mayor has to stand up and say, 'if you cannot do business with all of Chicago, you won't be doing business with any of Chicago,'" Kam Buckner said.

"I would leverage the fifth floor to make sure that those banks that are lending more equitably are rewarded," Sophia King said.

The candidates spoke of increasing Black representation in city contracts and staffing.

"My cabinet, all of my appointments in the sister agencies will be reflective of Black Chicago," U.S. Rep. Jesus "Chuy" Garcia said.

This was the final scheduled televised forum featuring all nine candidates before the election on Feb. 28.