SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — It was a jam-packed day for Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson as he met with lawmakers in Springfield and spoke to the Illinois General Assembly.
At a joint session, Johnson made his first address to the lawmakers. He credited the general assembly and recently passed legislation as setting the bar for progressive policy in the country.
This trip was his first as mayor-elect, but it’s not unfamiliar territory.
Democrats treated the soon-to-be 57th mayor of Chicago with a standing ovation while Republicans remained seated.
Johnson said it is a new day for the city and state and presented his vision for how Chicago and Springfield leaders can work together to better life for Illinoisans.
“No one has to lose at the expense of anyone else winning,” Johnson said. “There’s more than enough for everybody in the State of Illinois.”
Most of the key points were things he reiterated on the campaign trail. Those included investments addressing the root causes of violence, mental health resources and his plan to help businesses thrive statewide, a point that solicited applause on both sides of the aisle.
“This body can help provide Chicago and cities and towns across the state with the resources that are needed to build from the ground up,” Johnson said.
He made some big asks from Springfield, including changing the school funding formula to get more money for resources in Chicago schools and asking for more resources from the Local Government Distributive Fund.
With four weeks left in the spring session, it’s not clear whether these are short-term or long-term requests.
In speaking with members of the press after the joint session, he tip-toed around several questions, including what he’d like to see in the budget when it comes to public safety.
“Today’s conversation was really about doing what works, which is investing in people,” Johnson said.
When asked about his response to the violence over the weekend in the Loop, he defended the statement he issued, saying he is not condoning the behavior, but believes you can get to the root causes of violence while providing support on the frontline to prevent it.
“No one takes it more seriously than a family that lives through it every single day,” Johnson said. “You think I want my son on his bike, and he has to worry about getting shot? Do you really believe that? Of course, you don’t.”
He also held meetings with Illinois House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch and Senate President Don Harmon, as well as with the Black, Asian, Latino and moderate caucuses.
Johnson said his time at the statehouse is about building a better, stronger and safer Chicago by establishing a strong foundation for collaboration.
Now, Johnson has already built relationships with lawmakers. He has spent time working with Don Harmon as his constituent service director.
He was also the chief of staff for former state representative Deborah Graham.
WGN News has learned Johnson also met privately with lawmakers on Tuesday night.