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Issues

Photo: AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

Schools: Forge New Priorities

The cornerstone of our education policy must be to improve the quality of our neighborhood schools. These schools are not just places to learn, they are valuable resources and places that should be a source of pride. The closing of more than 50 schools — without true community engagement— has done great harm to our city.

That harm is made worse by the awarding of contracts to companies that fail to keep our schools clean and safe.  We cannot be a first-rate city without providing secure and sanitary places to nurture young minds. This begins with a complete plan to improve our neighborhood schools, including an elected school board to help ensure average citizens have a voice in the transformation.

Public Safety: A Comprehensive Plan

Too many children wake up every day, and go to bed every night, blanketed by a fear of violence. That fear has become the most significant factor in their young lives. We can, and we must, fix this.

We must develop a strategy that does not rely solely on law enforcement and harsher sentencing penalties. This involves the difficult but essential work of building trust between the police and the communities they serve. We must get to a place where every officer regards respectful engagement with the community as a tool that is as valuable as their gun and their badge. This also requires us to hold officers accountable when they violate their oaths and fail to serve and protect the public.

This plan must include making sure that our officers are the best trained and supported in the nation. We must recognize that officers see and experience trauma every day — and if they are not fit for duty, it will show up in the way they treat ordinary citizens. Substantive training and enhanced wellness resources are critically important.

We must immediately address the police department’s abysmal homicide clearance rate. In 2017, according to the Chicago Police Department’s own data, only 17 percent of homicides were solved. This is a disgrace. It de-legitimizes the police, especially when compared to cities like New York or LA, which often have clearance rates of 60 or 70 percent. We cannot keep sending the message to those victimized by crime that there is no justice for them, and those that do harm can walk the streets without consequence.

But the answers to community safety do not all lie with law enforcement. We must confront hard truths about the core causes of violence such as deep poverty, generational unemployment, lack of economic development, and absence of community anchors such as good schools, parks, recreational centers, medical centers, and grocery stores – all the things we know help lead to stable, safe neighborhoods.

As mayor, I will tap into the incredible talent we have here in Chicago. Those at the neighborhood levels, in the academy, businesses, in the civil rights, medical, mental and public health communities and elsewhere, to help shape solutions to these challenges. If we can leverage our leaders from every corner of the city to entice Amazon, we can do the same for our neighborhoods. What we have been lacking is a leader with empathy, vision and determination. I am that leader.

Neighborhood Development: Invest in Communities

All over Chicago, people feel the effects of an “us versus them” style of governance. Investing here, and not there; providing advantages to some, but not others; listening to a few, but ignoring far too many. That mentality will end the day I am sworn in as mayor.

I will start by listening to the needs of the people. I will be a visible presence in every neighborhood and work with local community leaders. This is the only way to make sure that our investment priorities respect and reflect the needs of our communities.  I will bring Chicago’s best and brightest together to revitalize neighborhoods, uplift our neighborhood schools, clear blight, tackle violence and improve commercial districts in our communities that have been left behind.

Our Shared Purpose: Equity & Inclusion

This election comes down to two stark choices: A continuation of the status quo with deep divisions that obscure our shared goals and leave us angry and without a unifying vision.

Or, a change in course in which we seize the moment, realize opportunities, and come together with a common sense of purpose.

I envision a Chicago where equity and inclusion are our guiding principles, our true north stars.  Where no matter who you are, no matter where you live, who you love, or the God you worship — we all recognize what connects us, and we commit ourselves to a Chicago in which everyone matters. I am committed to making this vision a reality.  Join me, and together we can guide our Chicago on a new progressive course.

PAID FOR BY LIGHTFOOT FOR CHICAGO

A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is (or will be) available on the Board’s official website (www.elections.il.gov) or for purchase from the State Board of Elections, Springfield, Illinois