Ald. Sophia King announces run for Chicago mayor as field challenging Lori Lightfoot grows

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The race for Chicago mayor got even more crowded Wednesday with Ald. Sophia King announcing her candidacy.

King, of the lakefront Fourth Ward, is the seventh person to announce a run against first-term incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the third City Council member, following Roderick Sawyer, 6th, and Raymond Lopez, 15th.

Other contenders include state Rep. Kam Buckner, businessman Willie Wilson, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas and community activist Ja’Mal Green.

“I love this city. We need a Chicago that’s safer and stronger. Let’s put an end to the false choices,” King said in her announcement. “Because we can have safety and justice. Compassion and accountability. We can revitalize neighborhoods and renew downtown. We can educate our young people. We can build our city and build equity. I am running for Mayor because we need more collaboration, not more confrontation, and we can go further together.”

Ald. Sophia King at a ceremonial unveiling of the new Ida B. Wells Drive in 2019. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune)

King is a former school administrator and community volunteer who was appointed 4th Ward alderman by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

In her time on the City Council, King is best known citywide for the renaming of a pair of high-profile streets.

She unsuccessfully led a push to rechristen downtown’s Balbo Drive in honor of Ida B. Wells, the African-American journalist who worked to expose lynchings and pushed for women’s voting rights. Italian-Americans objected to renaming Balbo, a pilot who flew from Rome to Chicago in 1933 for the Century of Progress Exposition and who was an ally of Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini. As a compromise, aldermen renamed Congress Parkway downtown for Wells.

King also worked with Ald. David Moore to rename Lake Shore Drive to honor Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, the Black founder of Chicago, in 2021. Lightfoot vigorously objected to the plan and pushed several efforts to rename something other than Lake Shore in honor of DuSable but she got behind a compromise renaming the iconic road “Jean Bapitiste Point DuSable Lake Shore Drive” rather than risk taking a total loss in the 50-member council.

King, a friend of former President Barack Obama, also helped push a minimum wage increase to $15 in 2019. The ethics board fined her husband, Alan, for improperly lobbying Emanuel, though the ethics board later vacated the fine.

Most recently, King has raised questions about the terms of an agreement to keep Lollapalooza in Grant Park for at least the next 10 years. The lakefront park is partly in King’s ward.

The mayoral election takes place in February.

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August 10, 2022 at 08:41AM

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