CHICAGO (SCS) — Declaring “Chicago is burning,” former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas announced Wednesday that he is running his second run for mayor, lambasting incumbent Lori Lightfoot’s handling of crime, education, taxes, etc
“Chicago Public Schools are not putting students first. Lead in our water is poisoning children. Skyrocketing property taxes are driving people out of their homes. Violent crime is rampant. Chicago is burning,” Vallas said in an announcement. campaign on YouTube. . “When those in power are too incompetent, combative, or corrupt to meet these challenges, that’s how a great city can fall.”
Vallas, who backed Lightfoot in the second round of the 2019 mayoral election after finishing ninth out of 14 candidates in the first round, has since become one of his most frequent critics. Although his campaign ad doesn’t mention her directly, it does show footage of her as he laments the current conditions in Chicago.
“I can’t stand to see our city like this, but no matter how bleak things may seem, the people of Chicago will never give up on the city we love, ever,” he said. “When I am mayor, the police will be able to do their job and arrest offenders. Tourists, commuters and residents will no longer be afraid to come downtown. Every child will have access to quality education, no matter how their parents do or what neighborhood they live in. Chicago will once again be the city that works.
Vallas, 68, joins at least four other candidates who have announced plans to run for mayor in 2023: Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th), millionaire businessman Willie Wilson, Illinois State Representative Kam Buckner and Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara.
Lightfoot has yet to formally announce that she is running for a second term, but is expected to launch her re-election bid soon.
With the nomination period for the mayoral election just months away, the field is almost certain to continue to grow.
Other potential candidates who have weighed the offers for mayor include Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Stacy Davis Gates, Illinois State Representative La Shawn Ford, Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson and community activist Ja’Mal Green.
Two potential candidates, Congressman Mike Quigley and former CPS CEO Arne Duncan, said they were not running.
The 2023 mayoral election will take place on February 28. If no candidate wins a majority of votes, the top two will face each other in a run-off on April 4.
Last year, Vallas helped the Chicago FOP negotiate a new 8-year contract with the city for rank-and-file police officers, who had gone four years without a contract.
Vallas, who led the CPS from 1995 to 2001 under former Mayor Richard M. Daley, also served as Daley’s City Budget Director. After leaving CPS, Vallas also led public school districts in Philadelphia and New Orleans.
In 2002, Vallas ran for governor of Illinois, but lost to Rod Blagojevich in the Democratic primary. In 2014, he ran for lieutenant governor alongside Governor Pat Quinn, but they lost to Bruce Rauner and his running mate Evelyn Sanguinetti.