Chicago Teachers Union president Stacy Davis Gates rules out running for mayor in 2023

CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Teachers Union president Stacy Davis Gates said Monday the city needs a new mayor, but said she won’t be among those running to defeat Mayor Lori Lightfoot in 2023.

At least eight people have announced bids to challenge Lightfoot in the upcoming February election, but at the end of a speech before the City Club of Chicago on Monday, Davis Gates said she won’t be one of them.

"Everybody in this room knows you all need a new mayor," Davis Gates said. "But it won’t be me."

The outspoken union leader said the city needs to do better to tackle a bevy of problems facing CPS students, from gun violence to homelessness, and needs to empower parents "on the margins of this society to feel empowered and welcomed in our school communities."

"Because if they are, the experience that that student – their child – will have in our school community will be wonderful," she said.

Asked why she isn’t running for mayor despite having long been one of Lightfoot’s most vocal critics, Davis Gates said she believes she already has the "best job in the world."

"I really love my job. I am really honored to serve this city, because this union serves more than just its core membership. It serves the city," she said. "Our members have created a space where we can lift our voices to provide balance to the city in the way it sees its public employees; in the way in which it centers the children that we parent, and that we also teach in our school communities. We also believe in a type of unionism that invites the community in. I get to do the good stuff in Chicago. I get to be a full-time leader for justice and equity."

Gates was elected president of the Chicago Teachers Union in May. She had served the previous eight years as the union’s vice president under Jesse Sharkey, who decided not to run for re-election this year.

Accusing Lightfoot and her predecessor, Rahm Emanuel, of treating the city’s teachers and other public servants poorly, Davis Gates said Chicago voters know what the city needs from its next mayor.

"It needs a partner. It needs an organizer. It needs someone who’s in love with humanity. We don’t have that right now," she said.

Although she stood alongside another potential mayoral challenger, Cook County Commissioner and longtime CTU organizer Brandon Johnson, Davis Gates declined to say who she would endorse against Lightfoot, saying the union has a democratic process for making such endorsements.

"I get one vote in our House of Delegates," she said. "I know how I’ll cast my vote when I have an opportunity, but what I will say is that I’m not getting in front of my members."

The union backed Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for mayor in the 2019 runoff election, but Lightfoot still cruised to victory with nearly 75% of the vote, winning all 50 wards/

Although the filing period to get on the ballot for mayor in the 2023 election has not yet begun, several challengers already have announced they are running, including: Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), Ald. Sophia King (4th), businessman Willie Wilson, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, Illinois State Rep. Kam Buckner, community activist Ja’Mal Green, and Chicago police officer Frederick Collins.

Region: Chicago,Politics,City: Chicago

via Politics – CBS Chicago

August 22, 2022 at 04:24PM

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