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Mayor candidates outline goals, platform

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U.S. Rep. Danny Davis speaks at Chicago mayoral forum
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis makes a point at the forum for Chicago mayoral candidates Wednesday. Seated behind him are, L-R, Miguel del Valle, John Hu, Jay Stone and Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins.

Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

Ten candidates vying to become Chicago’s next mayor fielded questions Wednesday at a public forum at UIC.

In front of a crowded Illinois Room in Student Center East, the candidates answered questions on topics that included the city’s budget, making higher education more affordable, running an inexpensive political campaign and taking a stance on immigration reform.

Chicagoans will vote for their next mayor in the Feb. 22 election.

UIC hosted the forum to  “help voters learn more about the mayoral candidates’ platforms, values and visions for the city’s future at a pivotal time in Chicago’s history,” said Warren K. Chapman, vice chancellor for external affairs.

 Steve Edwards of WBEZ-FM moderated, with questions from panelists Dick Simpson, professor and head of political science; Maria de los Angeles Torres, professor and director of Latin American and Latino studies; Saad Jamil, president of Undergraduate Student Government, and Andy Shaw, executive director of the Better Government Association.

The candidates, their platforms and a summary of their comments, were:

Danny Davis, U.S. congressman, D-Ill.

Platform includes:

• balancing the city budget

• curbing violence

• retrofitting buildings to save energy

• consolidating governmental activities

• building bridges between community colleges and universities.

“Money is hard to find and services need to be able to grow,” Davis said.

“I would bring leadership to the city that will bring the citizens together from every walk of life and help people seriously engage in finding solutions to the problems we face.”

Wilfredo De Jesus, minister

Platform includes:

• curbing violence

• promoting growth of small businesses

• retrofitting buildings to save energy

• conducting a forensic audit of the city budget

• encouraging corporations to hire more college students as interns.

“The country has sent a message that they are frustrated with politicians who make empty promises,” De Jesus said.

“I’m frustrated because of the CPS students that are dying in our streets. We’ve got to stop the violence in the city of Chicago.”

Miguel del Valle, Chicago city clerk

Platform includes:

• creating more transparency within government

• building coalitions

• promoting growth of small businesses

• encouraging growth of community college-university partnerships.

 “I’m running because I’m hopeful,” del Valle said.

“When we stand together, we can get on the right course.”

Ryan Graves, city employee

Platform includes:

• providing relief for the unemployed

• hiring local workers for city projects

• cutting city administrative staff to save money

• working with the federal government to identify funding for college students.

“The budget currently is smoke and mirrors,” Graves said. “Chicago is ready for a fresh start.”

John Hu, real estate broker

Platform includes:

• creating more efficiency in city government

• conducting a forensic audit of the city budget

• encouraging more technology companies to start businesses in Chicago

• a loan forgiveness program for college graduates who work for the city in public service fields.

“Chicago needs change, real change,” Hu said.

“When I make a decision, the question I’m going to ask myself first and foremost is, ‘Does this hurt the citizens of Chicago or does it help the citizens of Chicago?’”

Fenton C. Patterson

Platform includes:

• creating more jobs

• holding city departments accountable for budget deficits.

“I have a problem with the direction in which this city is going,” Patterson said.

“I decided to run to make sure that taxpayers and the business industry are getting a great return on whatever dollars they invest in this great city.”

Jay Stone, hypnotherapist

Platform includes:

• encouraging investments in new businesses

• conducting zero-based budgeting with professional auditors.

“There are creative people with ideas but not funding,” Stone said. “I would bring together people with ideas with financial investors.’

Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins, community organizer

Platform includes:

• encouraging a more participatory government

• conducting a forensic audit of the city budget

• identifying corporate partnerships to fund scholarships for college students.

“We need real change in the city and it’s the people’s voice that’s going to make that change,” Van Pelt-Watkins said.

William "Dock" Walls III, community activist

Platform includes:

• boosting business growth

• creating private-sector jobs

• comprehensive tax reform

• encouraging private donations to universities in exchange for naming rights to campus buildings.

“We need to make Chicago the world’s center for nanotechnology so that we are forever economically viable,” Walls said.

Frederick White, city employee

Platform includes:

• creating job growth

• pay cuts for the mayor, aldermen and top city executives

• building corporate partnerships to fund college scholarships.

“I got tired of listening to the politicians that we elect call each other names and come up with no ideas,” White said.  

Co-hosts for the event were WBEZ-FM, the Better Government Association, UIC’s Undergraduate Student Government and the university’s Institute of Government and Public Affairs.


Below: Panelists, L-R, Maria de los Angeles Torres, Dick Simpson, Andy Shaw and Saad Jamil listen to the candidates.

Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

UIC panelists at the Chicago Mayoral forum

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