The mass shooting that wounded at least 11 adults and three children during a vigil in East Garfield Park on Halloween night is an example of the failures of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration, mayoral candidate Commissioner Brandon Johnson said Tuesday during an interview with “Chicago Tonight.”
“This is a terrible tragedy,” Johnson said. “This is yet another example of what disinvestment looks like, this is another example of the failures of this particular administration that has not provided the type of vision to bring the type of hope and support that communities like the West Side, the South Side of Chicago need.”
No one has been arrested in connection with the shooting.
Lightfoot has made efforts to reverse decades of disinvestment on the South and West sides the center of her administration’s economic development policy.
But her efforts have been “too slow” and “too short,” Johnson said.
“The type of disinvestment that we have experienced in the city of Chicago over decades now really required something substantial and bold,” Johnson said, adding that Lightfoot has announced deals that have not come to fruition.
Johnson lives in Austin with his wife and three children, who attend Chicago Public Schools.
Johnson vowed to address the structural inequity that pervades Chicago and fuels violent crime, calling high-performing schools, affordable housing and health care all violence prevention measures.
Elected in 2018 to represent Cook County’s heavily Democratic 1st District on the Board of Commissioners, Johnson faces Libertarian candidate James Humay in the Nov. 8 general election.
Even before he formally launched his campaign, Johnson won the endorsement of the Chicago Teachers Union and United Working Families, a political organization closely aligned with the union.
Johnson, a founding member of United Working Families, has also been endorsed by progressive groups in the 30th, 33rd, 35th and 39th wards.
Lightfoot has long predicted that the Chicago Teachers Union would field a progressive candidate in 2023 in an attempt to unseat her — and has said she is ready to defend her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, rooting out corruption at City Hall, fighting crime and boosting public investment on the South and West sides.
Progressive groups in Chicago have been working for 10 months to lay the groundwork to defeat Lightfoot by uniting behind a single candidate. Those groups endorsed Johnson.
That effort has been complicated by U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia’s public consideration of a mayoral bid, which advanced Tuesday when Garcia to notify the Illinois State Board of Elections that he plans to use his Friends of Chuy Garcia committee to raise money for a potential run for mayor.
Garcia’s political organization also released a poll that he commissioned, showing him beating Lightfoot in a head-to-head contest.
“There is no question that if Congressman Garcia enters the race he emerges as a front-runner,” said spokesperson Manuel Diaz. “This poll is further affirmation of the trust voters have in his leadership. Community members are energized and we are seeing that manifested in signatures.”
Garcia, who is running for re-election to Congress on Tuesday, will announce his decision after Election Day, Diaz said.
A close ally and friend of former Mayor Harold Washington, Garcia could announce a mayoral bid on Nov. 10, the 40th anniversary of Washington’s announcement that he would run to be the first Black mayor of Chicago. Garcia, who was born in Mexico, would be Chicago’s first Latino mayor.
Johnson credited Garcia with helping to “lay the groundwork for an independent political movement” that led to his candidacy.
Garcia’s supporters are circulating petitions that would get Garcia on the February 2023 ballot, but Garcia has yet to announce whether he will be a candidate for mayor.
Nine major candidates have now announced bids for mayor, including Lightfoot and Johnson: Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward), Willie Wilson, state Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago), Paul Vallas, Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward), Ja’mal Green and Ald. Sophia King (4th Ward).