CHICAGO — Chicago mayoral candidates Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson went head-to-head in their second forum since February’s election.
The forum took place at the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center.
Vallas and Johnson were asked about their plans to ensure residents can acquire home ownership access.
Vallas said he would consider implementing tax increment financing.
“You could issue bonds and the interest that will be freed up when the TIFS retire and you could generate billions of dollars that you can invest in affordable housing,” Vallas said.
Johnson said he’s adamant about not increasing property taxes.
“I’m going to make sure that we protect homeownership by not only creating a path to home ownership, but let’s make sure that people don’t lose their homes because they can’t afford them because property taxes continue to be the only way the city can balance its budget,” Johnson said.
Both candidates committed to making Chicago a safer city, including on public transportation.
They also want to make it more accessible for residents living in marginalized communities.
Vallas said he intends to spur economic development near public transit.
“Along these lines, particularly the Red Line for example, we’ve got to secure that property,” Vallas said. “We’ve got to secure property along those lines.”
“We also have to create bus-only lanes and extend bus lines to go well beyond city limits,” Johnson said.
On Thursday morning, Johnson was endorsed by the Illinois Nurses Association.
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“I am so grateful to have you alls support,” Johnson said.
Coming off the heels of Wednesday night’s forum with opponent Paul Vallas, Johnson said he feels confident he’s the best fit for the City of Chicago.
“The next mayor of the City of Chicago is among the working class of Chicago,” Johnson said.
During the Feb. 28 election, Vallas received 33% of the votes compared to Johnson’s near 22%.
Vallas has received major endorsements from large business groups, including GOP donor Ken Griffin.
“I’ve gotten contributions from individuals who are part of Citadel,” Vallas said. “I haven’t been brought up to date on what the latest contributions are.”
Johnson, who is heavily backed and endorsed by the Chicago Teacher’s Union, said Chicagoans don’t need to be concerned about the CTU having too much influence in the mayor’s office if he’s elected mayor during the April runoff.
“I won’t be a CTU member when I’m elected,” Johnson said. “I won’t pay dues anymore. I am going to be a mayor for the entire City of Chicago.”
When it comes to making sure police are held accountable, Vallas, who is endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, said he’ll demand accountability and remain independent by not accepting contributions.
“Let me point out that when I was asked to step in in negotiations, I did on two conditions,” Vallas said. “One is they had to accept all of the accountability provisions that had been approved in the sergeant’s contract and that the activist were climbing for and secondly, that I received no pay or no compensation.”