Chicago Tribune Editorial Board Endorses Paul Vallas For Mayor – NBC Chicago

The Chicago Tribune editorial board made their long-awaited endorsement in the upcoming mayoral election on Friday, backing former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas for the city’s top job.

The board added that incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot is their second choice and the candidate they feel should face Vallas in a potential runoff election.

In the endorsement, the Tribune board called Vallas “a smart, passionate and experienced candidate for mayor who long has specialized in doing precisely that.”

The board touched on a recent Harris poll that noted many Chicagoans are pessimistic about the state of the city following an election season, highlighting the fears many have regarding public safety, as homicides reached the highest level in decades in 2021.

Singling out Vallas’ expertise in city financing, policing and education, the Tribune Board felt he was both the most experienced and best positioned to handle the task of leading Chicago.

On Vallas’ law enforcement policy, the Tribune board said that with the “ear of rank-and-file police officers,” Vallas is best positioned to both increase homicide clearance rates and reduce police misconduct in the city.

The board added that Vallas will be expected to use experience gained as Mayor Richard M. Daley’s budget director from 1990 to 1993 in tightening city finances.

While the board praised Lightfoot’s leadership in the COVID-19 pandemic and work in initiatives to improve equity in struggling neighborhoods, she faced criticism for being reluctant to any changes in city leadership, most notably toward embattled CPD Superintendent David Brown.

The board noted that Congressman Chuy Garcia’s platform was too vague to issue an endorsement, while noting they were troubled by his associations with former Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.

Willie Wilson was criticized by the board for some of his controversial statements on the campaign trail, though he was praised for his philanthropy and personal success.

Brandon Johnson was rejected an endorsement due to proposals to raise taxes that the board says would cause more people to leave Chicago.

He also faced criticism over not acknowledging the effects of prolonged school closures, which the board said is likely tied to the support he receives from the Chicago Teachers Union.

The board said that progressive voters could find a formidable candidate in Ald. Sophia King’s whose constituency consists of both portions of downtown and struggling neighborhoods, “giving her experience on both sides of one of Chicago’s most vexing and self-defeating battlefronts.”

According to the board, Ald. Roderick Sawyer’s positions are “reasoned and thoughtful,” though he is not expected to gain much traction in the race.

The board marked disagreements with State Rep. Kam Buckner on matters of education, while calling the legislator an inspiring figure who should continue to play a role in Chicago’s political future, while offering similar words for activist Ja’Mal Green.

The 2023 Chicago municipal elections will be held on Feb. 28.

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