CHICAGO — Candidates for Chicago mayor Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas each picked up endorsements Tuesday before participating in a mayoral forum at the University of Illinois-Chicago centered around public safety
“I am here today to proudly announce my strong support for Brandon Johnson as the next mayor of the city of Chicago,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (9th Dist.).
Schakowsky and members of the Personal PAC — an organization focused on protecting reproductive rights — announced their support for Johnson, while Alderwoman Silvana Tabares (23rd Ward) threw her hat in the ring with Vallas, along with aldermen Felix Cardona Jr. (31st Ward) and Ariel Reboyras (30th Ward).
In announcing her endorsement, Tabares took a shot at Johnson on the topic of public safety.
“Every Chicagoan who is concerned about rising crime should be aware of one thing,” Tabares said. “Brandon Johnson will defund the police and Paul Vallas will put crime reduction and public safety first.”
Schakowsky, meanwhile, took issue with Vallas and his personal opinion on abortion.
“We can’t take any chances,” Schakowsky said. “When I say that, I mean Paul Vallas, and let me quote you in his own words, [he] said that he is ‘fundamentally opposed to abortion.'”
Both candidates provided rebuttals to the quips of their opponent’s endorsees. Vallas said his personal opinions don’t influence his support for women’s reproductive rights, while Johnson said he is invested in public safety because he lives and raises a family on the West Side of the City.
“I share the same position that speaker [Nancy] Pelosi has or that Joe Biden has? He’s a catholic I’m a Greek Orthodox,” Vallas said. “My personal views do not in any way interfere with my public position. I’ve always been an unequivocal supporter of protecting a woman’s reproductive rights.”
“I have tremendous incentive for this city to be safe. I can’t speak for my opponent or his address, I know where my address is,” Johnson said. “I’m raising a family on the West Side of Chicago, and just like families in Jefferson park and Morgan park, we’re all concerned about the serious problem of public safety.”
More than 2,000 people attended the mayoral forum Tuesday, with Johnson and Vallas hammering home their stances on how each of them would improve public safety in Chicago.
Johnson said he would hire or promote 200 detectives, focus on having crisis workers respond to mental health 911 calls, and open mental health centers around the City, while Vallas said he would focus on community policing, have officers on all CTA platforms and trains, while also working toward having fully manned beats around Chicago.
The runoff election between Johnson and Vallas is set to take place Tuesday, April 4.