After Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel unexpectedly announced that he would not seek a third term in office, several figures – including former President Barack Obama – shared their own reactions to the political bombshell.
Emanuel was Obama’s first White House chief of staff when he took office in 2009, a role in which the former president said he was a "tireless and brilliant public servant."
"As a mayor, a congressman, and my first White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel has been a tireless and brilliant public servant," Obama said in a statement.
"His work to improve our schools is paying dividends by helping our teachers and students achieve faster academic improvement than students in 96 percent of America’s school districts," Obama continued.
"The announcement to establish universal pre-K in Chicago, on top of universal kindergarten, will give all our kids the best possible start. And his implementation of debt-free community college will help prepare all our young people for the new economy," he added. "With record job growth and record employment over his terms in office, Chicago is better and stronger for his leadership, and I was a better President for his wise counsel at a particularly perilous time for our country."
"I’ve been blessed to call Rahm my friend," Obama said. "Whatever he chooses to do next, I know he’ll continue to make a positive difference, just as he has throughout his career in public service. And Michelle and I wish Rahm and Amy all the best as they consider this next phase in their lives."
Sen. Dick Durbin gave Emanuel similar praise.
"Rahm’s record of public service spans Congress, the White House, and the fifth floor of City Hall in Chicago," he said in a statement.
"I have worked closely with him at every level of his public career. I always knew a call from Rahm was an invitation to join him in a bold, ambitious effort to make life better for those he served," Durbin continued. "It has been my honor to join him in these great ventures. Rahm has left his mark and I wish him and Amy the best in the days ahead."
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan thanked the mayor for his service in several capacities as well.
“Mayor Emanuel offered steady leadership through difficult times. His efforts to balance the budget, stabilize pensions, and make tough decisions consistently reflected his commitment to do what was best for the future of our city, not what was easy," Madigan said in a statement. "As Chicago continues to move forward and grow as an international city, we will remain grateful for Mayor Emanuel’s leadership.”
Emanuel announced his decision Tuesday in a last-minute press conference, revealing he would not seek a third term after serving as mayor since 2011.
"This has been the job of a lifetime but it is not a job for a lifetime," he said.
Emanuel said he and his wife Amy, who was standing by his side during the emotional announcement, decided to "write another chapter together" as their three children have left for college.
"[Amy] and I look forward to writing the next chapter in our journey together," an emotional Emanuel said. "I will always be here for the future of this great city. Not as mayor, but in the most important role anyone can play – as a citizen."
"From the bottom of my heart, thank you, God bless you and God bless the people of Chicago," he said as he ended his announcement.
Region: Chicago,Local,City: Chicago
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September 4, 2018 at 11:29AM