Chicago Police District Councilors at press conference endorsing Brandon Johnson.
(Fight Back! News/staff)
Chicago, IL – After celebrating their victories in the Chicago municipal elections on February 28, 36 of the 66 newly elected Police District Councilors voiced their support of the Brandon Johnson mayoral campaign. At a press conference with Johnson outside City Hall on Monday, March 13, many councilors explained why they would rather work under a Johnson administration than a Vallas one.
“I think Paul Vallas should go back to Palos Heights and run for mayor there. We need someone who is deeply rooted like Brandon Johnson,” said Arewa Karen Winters, 15th District Councilor. “Brandon Johnson is the only candidate who truly knows us, hears us and understands us because he is us,” Winters continued, referring to Johnson’s residence on the chronically neglected West Side of Chicago.
“Brandon Johnson is the only mayoral candidate committed to working with [District Councilors] to make communities safer,” said 17th District Councilor Anthony Tamez, who contrasted Johnson’s support of pro-accountability candidates since before the February elections with Vallas’s continued alliance with the most reactionary elements of the police. “With support from the notoriously unaccountable FOP [Fraternal Order of Police], Vallas promises the same old approach that has led to wrongful convictions and abysmal murder clearance rates for decades.”
Eric Russell, 6th District Councilor, pointed to Paul Vallas’s record of destroying education systems and other public services around the country. “The fiscal irresponsibility of Paul Vallas is legendary,” Russell exclaimed.
Other speakers cited Johnson’s commitments to invest in communities as a reason why they were endorsing him for mayor. “I’m supporting Brandon Johnson because he supports Treatment Not Trauma,” explained Ponchita Moore, 5th District Councilor, in reference to a proposed ordinance that would invest in non-police responses to mental health crises.
“We are committed to fighting for a safer Chicago. We plan to do this by addressing the root causes of violence,” added Saul Arellano, 25th District Councilor.
“We were one of the orgs that led the campaign to get all these beautiful people elected,” Frank Chapman, executive director of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR) and Field Organizer of the Chicago branch, CAARPR, said, explaining the importance of people power in the journey to this historic moment.
“We have the democratic option to say who polices our communities and how our communities are policed,” Chapman continued.
“In order for us to have a better, safer, stronger city, we have to have input from the community,” said Brandon Johnson, summing up the sentiments of those who spoke before him.
“These District Councilors are the fabric of this city, one of the most diverse coalitions in the country,” Johnson added. The councilors vowed to continue supporting Johnson’s mayoral campaign through canvassing, phone banking and other methods of outreach until the runoff election on April 4.