CHICAGO (CBS) — Former Chicago Public Schools CEO and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Dunaan will not run for mayor in 2023, he announced Tuesday afternoon.
Speculation had increased in recent months that Duncan, 57, would challenge Mayor Lori Lightfoot in next year’s mayoral race, but on Tuesday he announced he planned to stay where he is – at the head of the Chicago nonprofit CRED.
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“I’m exactly where I need to be, doing the job I love. I’ve never been part of such a brave and committed team. The best way to serve our city is to stay focused on reducing armed violence and to stay engaged at our sites, in the streets and in the lives of our participants.After careful consideration, I have decided not to run for mayor, but to work with anyone serious about making our city safer,” Duncan said in a statement.
Duncan is the co-founder and managing partner of Chicago CRED, a nonprofit group focused on preventing gun violence by providing counseling, workforce development, and other social service programs. The letters CRED stand for “Create a real economic destiny”.
In recent months, Duncan has been outspoken in his criticism of Lightfoot’s handling of crime in Chicago. During a speech at the Chicago Chamber of Commerce in January, Duncan said the Chicago Police Department was “in crisis” and said officers should focus only on violent crimes, while the city should hire more civilian staff to tackle issues such as traffic accidents and property crimes.
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He also criticized Lightfoot’s proposal to allow city prosecutors to bring lawsuits to fine gang leaders and seize their assets, saying it would make no difference in tackling crime.
At the time, Duncan acknowledged he was considering running for mayor, but has now ruled it out.
Duncan served as chief executive of Chicago Public Schools from January 2001 to January 2009 under former Mayor Richard M. Daley before joining President Barack Obama’s cabinet as Secretary of Education.
After leaving that position at the end of Obama’s second term, Duncan returned to Chicago to help establish the Chicago CRED.
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The city’s next mayoral election is still a year away, and Lightfoot is expected to seek a second term, and potential challengers include Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Stacy Davis Gates, Illinois State Representative LaShawn Ford, community activist Ja’Mal Green, former CPS CEO Paul Vallas, and millionaire Willie Wilson. So far, the only declared challenger is Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara.