Brandon Johnson Calls For Better, Stronger, Safer Chicago and Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, IL — Brandon Johnson has yet to be sworn in as Chicago’s new mayor, but the former middle school teacher and Cook County commissioner who will take office next month is already looking ahead to “the best and brightest days” for both the city he will govern and for residents across Illinois.

In a nearly 30-minute address to the General Assembly on Wednesday in Springfield, Johnson called Chicago and Springfield to work together to address major concerns facing both the city and state. Johnson said a “new day” has arrived for both Chicago and Illinois alike, but that lawmakers must commit to working together if both the city and state are to succeed in a place Johnson referred to as the vanguard of progressive policy in the United States.

Johnson said on Wednesday he hopes to establish a “productive, collaborative, and energetic” partnership between city and state lawmakers. He said while political differences exist between the two political parties, lawmakers — like Illinois residents — are connected and, at the end of the day, want the same things: Good-paying jobs, good schools, safe streets and communities, and quality healthcare.

Find out what’s happening in Chicagowith free, real-time updates from Patch.

He said by working together, lawmakers can provide an “economy that works for you” and shared values no matter “the God you worship, who you love and where you lay your head at night.”

Johnson, who defeated Paul Vallas in this month’s Chicago mayoral run-off election and who will be sworn in on May 15, called on state lawmakers to work together to deliver for Illinois residents. While calling for collaboration between political leaders, Johnson also dismissed the narrative that providing for the good of Chicago means that someone else is losing out as being false.

Find out what’s happening in Chicagowith free, real-time updates from Patch.

“For years, they have told us this is a zero-sum game — that if something is good for Chicago, well, that means we’re taking something (from other places),” Johnson said in his address.

“But no one has to lose at the expense of someone else winning. There is more than enough for everybody in the state of Illinois.”

Johnson said that lawmakers must do more to protect and support police officers after Springfield has invested nearly a half-billion dollars into public safety, including $250,000 for the Office of Youth and Gun Violence. He said that more has to be done to provide better mental health services for police officers, who are being asked to work through “enormous” mental health challenges that come with “one of the most dangerous jobs in America”, the mayor-elect said.

Johnson said that police officers who put their lives on the line on a daily basis are “being asked to do too much” and that voters have provided a clear message that more needs to be done in eliminating violent crime. He said that under his administration, mental health services for cops will be expanded and that the city will keep investing in reforms that build trust in law enforcement.

Johnson said lawmakers have a mandate to make “bold, necessary investments” that will address the root causes of violence. As part of that process, Johnson said the city must address its current youth employment rate of 19 percent for young workers between the ages of 16 and 19 and 12 percent for those between the ages of 20 and 24.

“Too many young Chicagoans feel there is no place to turn,” Johnson said on Wednesday.

His comments come on the heels of large gatherings of young people over the weekend that led to “reckless, disruptive, and violent” behavior near Millennium Park and 31st Street Beach. In all, 15 people were arrested while other incidents of physical assault and property damage took place.

In calling the behavior of mostly teens and young adults unacceptable, Johnson said over the weekend that young people cannot be demonized and called on the city to do more to help provide them with a brighter future.

On Wednesday, Johnson also called for better public and community schools throughout the state as part of his commitment to invest in young people. He called for the presence of a nurse and social worker in every school in Chicago and said that a revised school funding formula will help ensure that schools in both the city and across Illinois are getting the services that are needed.

He also said that Chicago will continue to be a safe space for asylum seekers and for a “safe sanctuary” for women’s reproductive rights that have been stripped away in neighboring states after Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last summer.

Yet, in order to make for a better life for all, Johnson repeated the idea that a collaborative effort between city and state leaders is needed as he looks to move forward toward a brighter future.

“When we build a better, stronger, safer Chicago, we are building a better, stronger, safer Illinois,” Johnson said.

“Chicago and Springfield can work together. It doesn’t mean we always get along …The people of Illinois are counting on us to figure it out and to do it together.”

Get more local news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for free Patch newsletters and alerts.

Ino Saves New

via rk2’s favorite articles on Inoreader

April 19, 2023 at 03:55PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s