CHICAGO — Mayoral candidates Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson addressed the environmental concerns of communities on the Southwest Side, communities bearing the burden of pollution in Chicago.

“We don’t want polluters anywhere in this city at all,” Paul Vallas said.

“For too long our communities have been seen as dumping grounds for waste,” Brandon Johnson said.

Both candidates told the crowd at Healthy Hood in Pilsen on Monday they will re-open an Environment Department, which former mayor Rahm Emanuel dissolved.

Vallas says his department would not only focus on clean air and water, but also food deserts and nutrition.  The conversation capping off another busy day and weekend on the campaign trail.

“What truly makes us the greatest the world, it’s our extraordinary people,” Johnson said.

Johnson made his pitch to the City Club of Chicago after picking up an endorsement from Congressman Jonathan Jackson over the weekend.

Vallas gained the backing of unions representing plumbers, engineers and firefighters, and Senator Dick Durbin.

“I believe Paul Vallas can move Chicago forward and be a bridge to uniting the people in this city,” Sen. Dick Durbin said.

Communities especially on the south and west sides are united around their frustration with rising property taxes. Back at Healthy Hood – both candidates pledging to not raise property taxes.

“I believe individual property taxes should be capped,” Vallas said.

Johnson says he won’t raise property taxes and argues his other tax proposals, like a hotel tax, will help lower the burden of homeowners.

“I’m proposing one dollar per room, yall we can find $1 per room if it means keeping people in their homes,” Johnson said.

With eight days left before Chicago voters choose a new mayor, new WGN-TV/Emerson College/The Hill poll shows Paul Vallas holding a five-point lead over Brandon Johnson.

Both candidates will go head-to-head on April 4 for the Chicago mayoral runoff race.