Preckwinkle, Lightfoot campaign at Rainbow PUSH event on South Side

CHICAGO — In just over three weeks, Chicago voters will head to the polls for the April 2 mayoral run-off election.

For candidates Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle, it’s a non-stop race for the city’s top job. The winner will become the first black female mayor of Chicago.

Both women campaigned at a Rainbow PUSH Coalition forum Saturday in Kenwood.

Preckwinkle, who is currently the Cook County Board president and was once a 4th Ward alderman, is campaigning heavily on the South Side. She said she wants to invest in underserved communities to bring crime down, create affordable housing and ensure that every school in the city offers a quality education.

“You can pretty much predict the quality of schools by the zip code that the young person lives in,” Preckwinkle said.

Lightfoot is a senior partner at a prestigious Chicago law firm. She also chaired the Police Accountability Task Force and was president of the Chicago Police Board. She is campaigning on change, asking voters to take a chance on a political outsider who she says owes no one and will bring fresh ideas to make Chicago work for everyone.

“Politicians come, they talk a good game, and then they disappear,” Lightfoot said. “What has happened to the quality of life in your neighborhoods?”

Lightfoot was referring to Preckwinkle, who endorsed scandal-plagued former Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios and hired Ald. Ed Burke’s son. Burke is currently the subject of a federal investigation.

“I started out in politics as an independent Democrat,” Preckwinkle said. “I’m still an independent Democrat, and I brought my progressive values to the party.”

Lightfoot said this election is “an opportunity for us to speak our values and break from the political machine that has perpetuated the status quo and left most of Chicago looking in.”

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who heads Rainbow PUSH Coalition, said he will not publicly disclose who he plans to vote for.

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