Chicago choices

With the city election underway residents select a new mayor. Use this guide to make informed decisions in the voting booth.

Leland Culver, Berk Oto , and Priyanka Shrijay

Gery Chico

Gery Chico is a 62-year-old lawyer born in Back of the Yards. This is his second mayoral campaign. Chico served as Chief of Staff under Richard M. Daley and held numerous other leadership positions in Chicago boards such as the Chicago City Colleges Board. Chico promises to fire Superintendent Eddie Johnson and hire more diverse police officers. He wants to revitalize a police-neighborhood cooperation program called CAPS and repurpose 50 closed schools into community centers and affordable housing.

Amara Enyia

35-year-old Nigerian-American candidate Amara Enyia received significant financial support for her campaign from Chicago natives Chance the Rapper and Kanye West. Enyia believes in a public bank to avoid paying private banks. She also advocates for an elected school board as well as creating an office for Chicago Public Schools funding equity. In order to stop corruption, Enyia vows to strengthen the Inspector General’s office with expanded oversight power.


Toni Preckwinkle

71-year-old Toni Preckwinkle, the first African-American president of Cook County Board, served for 19 years as a Chicago alderman. Preckwinkle vows to create a Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to reduce crime. Preckwinkle promises to make sure that funding for public schools is distributed equitably, and that these schools are not closed or privatized. She advocates for an elected public school board. Preckwinkle pledges to implement a $15/hour minimum wage.


Lori Lightfoot

Former Federal Prosecutor Lori Lightfoot is the first openly lesbian Chicago mayoral candidate. After graduating from the University of Chicago, Ms. Lightfoot served Assistant U.S. Attorney for Northern Illinois, and as president of the Chicago Police Board. She supports affordable housing, an elected school board,  investment in neighborhood schools, mental health centers, anti-gun violence programs, raising the minimum wage, Chicago Police Department reform, a Chicago casino, taxing marijuana, and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


Garry McCarthy

59-year-old Garry McCarthy, former Chicago Police superintendent, was fired by Rahm Emanuel in December 2015 after the shooting of Laquan McDonald. He was with the New York City Police Department until 2006, and was police director in Newark, New Jersey, before coming to Chicago. He opposes the federal consent decree to reform the CPD. Mr. McCarthy is critical of Emanuel’s administration and says it ignored issues for political reasons. He favors a Chicago casino, taxing marijuana, progressive tax reform, and a partially elected school board.


Paul Vallas

Paul Vallas, 2002 Illinois gubernatorial candidate, is a native Chicagoan and was Chicago Public Schools CEO. He has also worked at the Illinois Economic and Fiscal Commission and Illinois Legislature. Vallas wants to leverage funds to pay for pension obligation bonds, cap property taxes, replace lead water pipes, and hire retired police detectives to improve the homicide clearance rate. He supports a Chicago casino, CPD reform, taxing marijuana, cutting spending, repurposing shuttered schools, and aggressive prosecution and of gun law violators.


Willie Wilson

70-year-old Willie Wilson is known for his philanthropy. He founded Omar Medical Supplies and is the CEO. Wilson ran for Chicago mayor in 2015, where he finished third. He wants to place four superintendents at the top of the Chicago Police Department, restructure the force’s racial makeup and upgrade technology to improve the crime clearance rate. He supports an elected school board, freezing property taxes, reopening elementary schools and mental health clinics, free CTA rides for seniors, and taxing marijuana.


William M. Daley

William M. Daley is a 70-year-old lawyer, politician, and former banker from Bridgeport, Chicago. He was Chief of Staff under Barack Obama and Commerce Secretary during the  Clinton Administration. Mr. Daley currently serves on the boards of the Chicago Community Trust, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Innovation Foundation, and Third Way. Daley promotes safe, economically vital neighborhoods with strong schools and housing.


Susana Mendoza

Susana Mendoza, 46, has been Illinois comptroller since 2016. She is the first Hispanic person independently elected to a statewide office in Illinois, and focuses on funding nursing homes, hospice centers and schools. She served twice as the first female Chicago City Clerk and six terms in the Illinois House of Representatives for the 1st District. She supports police accountability, job creation, reliable transportation, reducing corruption, fighting for LGBT rights, and a Safety, Health and Empowerment plan for women.


Other Candidates

Other candidates include Robert Fioretti,  Alderman from the 2nd Ward 2007–2015; La Shawn Ford, Member of the Illinois House of Representatives since 2007; Neal Sáles-Griffin, Professor at the Northwestern University’s Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation; Jerry Joyce, Former Assistant States Attorney; John Kozlar, Candidate for Alderman from the 11th Ward in 2011 and 2015.


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