Ja’Mal Green, youngest candidate for mayor, confident he “can take on this job”


CHICAGO (CBS) — The city’s mayoral race remains a toss-up. With nine people running, the field is crowded, making it difficult for voters to sort out where the candidates stand on the issues.

It’s why CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov sat down with each of them to help give voters some more insight into the candidates, in the order they appear on the ballot.

Community activist Ja’Mal Green won the lottery to appear on the top of the ballot in the mayor’s race. He might be the youngest candidate in the race, but it’s not the first time he’s thrown his hat in the ring. He launched a bid for mayor in the previous election, but dropped out in the face of a challenge to his ballot petitions.

"I know I’m young, but I can take on this job," Green said.

Green, 27, doesn’t believe his age, or the fact he’s never held public office, should be strikes against him. If elected he’d be the youngest person ever elected mayor in Chicago.

"You can look at every movement, and the leaders who really brought forth transformative change to this country were all my age," he said. "Folks are looking for someone who really understands the needs of the grassroots of everyday people."

Green grew up in Englewood. He said his friends lived in abandoned buildings; barely had anything. The schools failed them. There was violence. Green became an activist, and then his aspirations turned political. 

"I went from hating politicians and politics to saying we actually need a leader to take control of these systems, create new ones," Green said.

Green agrees crime and public safety are arguably the top campaign issues, but he would not hire more police officers. He would change their existing workweek, which he says will help with patrols. 

"And make it a 4-day/3-off workweek, with a mental health day in between," he said. "Our first piece is not police, right? Our first piece is economic prosperity."

Green said he wants to focus on bringing new people into Chicago, and keeping existing residents in the city, and level the socio-economic playing field. But how do you do that?

"Well one of the ways that we’re going to do it is we’re going to use a single-family mortgage bond, and use our bonding capacity to back home loans," he said.

Green also wants to give $1,000 a month to 10,000 families who pass a financial literacy class and meet other requirements. He proposes giving small business owners their first license for free, giving those who develop vacant city lots a 10-year tax freeze, and creating a public city bank with profits going to city services.

How does he plan to achieve those lofty goals without hiking some sort of tax somewhere? 

"So let me just say: the money is there. We are wasting hundreds of millions of dollars each and every day," Green said.

Green also wants to create a youth intervention department, whose workers would directly help kids who drop out of school, get arrested, need housing or mental health services. He said he can do it, again, without raising taxes, and would borrow more money before hiking property taxes in particular.

Kozlov asked every mayoral candidate what’s one thing people don’t know about them. Green said he likes to sing and used to be in an R&B pop band. 

News,Region: Chicago,City: Chicago

via Local News – CBS Chicago https://ift.tt/xq8AOMh

February 13, 2023 at 06:35PM

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