O’Shea endorses Vallas for mayor


As the mayoral election heads to a runoff, 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea announced his decision about which candidate he supports.

O’Shea endorsed Paul Vallas, a former Beverly resident, before the start of the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 12.

With the men gathering at Beverly Bank and Trust, near the parade’s starting point at 103rd Street and Western Avenue, O’Shea praised Vallas for making public safety his top concern.

“Beverly, Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood is a safe community, where neighbors look out for one another,” O’Shea said. “Each and every year, we gather here on Western Avenue to celebrate this wonderful event. I think it’s appropriate today that we invite a neighbor, a friend—Mr. Paul Vallas. I’m proud to give him my endorsement.”

Vallas, the former CEO of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), is facing Brandon Johnson, a Cook County commissioner and Chicago Teachers Union member, in the April 4 runoff.

They were the top two vote-getters among nine candidates in the Feb. 28 election.

O’Shea endorsing Vallas isn’t a surprise, as Vallas earned about 61 percent of the vote in the 19th Ward in the municpal election; current mayor Lori Lightfoot earned about 12 percent, and Johnson earned 10.

Vallas has emphasized that he would hire about 1,700 more Chicago Police Department (CPD) officers to make up for the staffing shortage that has developed in recent years.

“Public safety is a human right,” Vallas said. “That’s not for the 19th Ward—but for every ward. It’s the government’s fundamental responsibility to make sure that all communities are safe and secure.”

He said every neighborhood needs to have CPD beat cars on patrol, and officers need to be stationed at Chicago Transit Authority stations, whether it’s working at station platforms or riding the trains.

“Our public transportation,” Vallas said, “needs to be as safe as going to the airports.”

O’Shea said that, to address the CPD staffing shortage, he has introduced various pieces of legislation in the City Council, including hiring incentives. Those ideas, however, haven’t made much headway.

“We haven’t had a successful audience on that,” O’Shea said. “My hope is that, when Paul gets elected, we can work together on what we do to support our police officers and add incentives to recruit new officers.”

He also said he would work with Vallas on investing in communities that have been neglected.

Vallas believes he and O’Shea can partner to make that happen. He also took shots at Johnson, who has proposed several new taxes and wants to make “the ultra-rich pay their fair share.”

“Matt is a leader in the City Council,” Vallas said, “and I look forward to working with him very closely on advancing not only a public-safety agenda, but on advancing a type of community-investment agenda that realizes that we can’t be taxing people out of their homes, and we can’t be taxing residences into oblivion.”

Early voting for the runoff begins Monday, March 20.

To cast their vote, Chicagoans can visit any of the 50 early-voting sites; the Chicago Board of Elections (CBOE) Supersite, 191 N. Clark St.; or the CBOE offices, 69 W. Washington St.

Locally, Mt. Greenwood Park, 3721 W. 111th St., is the 19th Ward’s early-voting site.

News,Region: SW Chicago,Region: South Suburbs

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March 14, 2023 at 12:08PM

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