This year saw Brandon Johnson take the reins as Chicago’s 57th mayor, capping an unlikely and historic rise backed by the powerful Chicago Teachers Union.
Johnson narrowly defeated former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas in a runoff, and ended a tumultuous first and only term for former Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Johnson was immediately confronted by an escalating migrant crisis — with thousands of asylum seekers being sent to Chicago from the nation’s southern border, prompting tensions in some of the city’s most underserved communities.
The crisis comes with the Democratic National Convention set to come to Chicago in 2024 for the first time since 1996 and with Gov. J.B. Pritzker intent on showcasing the city and his own role as a national Democratic power player.
2023 was also the year two historic and powerful political reigns came to an end with longtime Ald. Ed Burke convicted in a historic racketeering case and former top Com Ed officials and Mike Madigan-connected lobbyists facing potentially long prison terms in a massive federal bribery case. That case is a prelude to the former Illinois House speaker’s own bribery trial.
And in sports, NASCAR shut down Michigan Avenue for its soggy, historic first-ever city race in Chicago. Northwestern University was rocked by a sexual abuse and hazing scandal that ended the career of longtime head football coach Pat Fitzgerald.
The Bears finished another lackluster year with big questions at quarterback and head coach. A season to forget for Chicago baseball fans. And Blackhawks phenom Connor Bedard provided a spark of excitement as Chicago fans hope for better in 2024.
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