Candidate for Mayor of Chicago

About the Candidate

Name: Paul Vallas
DOB: June 10, 1953
Family: Sharon Vallas (wife), Paul Vallas (son), Gus Vallas (son)
Occupation: Mayoral candidate for the City of Chicago
Political Experience:

  • State of Illinois’ Executive Director, Economic and Fiscal Commission – 1985-1990
  • City of Chicago Budget Director – 1990-1993
  • CEO of Chicago Public Schools – 1995-2001
  • Gubernatorial candidate for State of Illinois – 2002
  • Superintendent of Philadelphia Public Schools – 2002-2007
  • Superintendent of Recovery School District, New Orleans – 2007-2010
  • Advisor to the Interamerican Developmental Bank (sister agency to World Bank) – 2010-2012
  • Superintendent of Bridgeport Public Schools – 2012-2014
  • Lieutenant gubernatorial candidate for the State of Illinois – 2014
  • Advisor to the U.S. Department of Justice – 2016


Candidate Statement

I’ve been worried about our City for a long time… so worried that I found myself constantly thinking about Chicago and its problems. With my experience in successfully balancing massive multibillion‐dollar budgets and managing giant public school systems in different states, not to mention natural disasters in countries like HAITI and CHILE, it seemed morally wrong to just sit around “hoping” things would get better.

So, in spite of our rather intimidating MAYOR and his rather intimidating MILLIONS, and Chicago’s rather intimidating MACHINE, I did what NONE of the other “big name” candidates in this race did: I FOUND THE COURAGE to jump in and take on Rahm Emmanuel.

Now, the race obviously looks a lot different today than it did last year – but one thing is the same – I am still the only candidate with the skills and the demonstrated track record who can manage this city on day one, and manage it in a way that will address our long term financial challenges while making the investments in economic development, public safety, education, healthy infrastructure, that will ensure that all communities grow and prosper.

The voters have to treat this election like a job interview -- because that is what it is.

My vision for the future of this city is very different than the vision we have been fed by the machine and the big money politicians. MY VISION is one of inclusion – not the exclusion that has historically kept the same neighborhoods down for decades, MY VISION is one of sound, COMPETENT, honest management. MY VISION IS to give the taxpayers of this city value for their dollars, and to ensure equity and opportunity for every neighborhood.

Candidate Q&A

What is your vision for this office?

When candidates ask you for your vote, you have to ask them, “What are your specific plans? What are you going to do differently? Do you have a record of accomplishment that I can trust, and in these critical times, can you lead from day one?” Unlike any of the other Mayoral candidates who talk like politicians and– I have offered very specific, detailed plans to address the critical issues facing this city. A five-year financial plan that solves the pension funding problem, balances the budget, and caps real estate taxes, fees and fines. An economic development plan to rebuild our long-ignored communities. A public safety plan that gives the police the resources, support and training they need to not only be effective, but also to be accountable. An infrastructure plan that includes a plan for getting lead out of the drinking water. A comprehensive education plan that provides quality schools in every community and provides adult education and occupational training services to those adults who have dropped out of school, are chronically unemployed, or were previously incarcerated. An affordable housing plan that expands affordable housing by ending gentrification and prioritizes the construction of affordable housing through specific programs and policies. When I was honored by US News and World Report as one of the nation’s 20 best leaders, it was because my career has been about fixing broken systems quickly and creatively and managing crisis situations. My objective is to have a strategy for ending the city’s long-standing financial nightmare while investing City resources in ways that stabilizes all communities and creates conditions for growth and economic opportunity. This is what I have done before, and this is what I’ll do as Mayor. For my specific recommendations on each of these subjects, please visit my website at:

What is the most pressing issue facing constituents, and how can you help address it?

Public safety is the most pressing issue facing Chicago residents in this election. Absolutely critical to long-term public safety is eliminating conditions that contribute to violent crime. For example, generational poverty, inadequate education, the unavailability of adult education and occupational training for adults that have been incarcerated, the City’s failure to make real, sustainable investments in our poorest communities, and the absence of critical social service supports like mental health services. I have laid out plans, with unprecedented detail for a candidate, on how I will change these conditions that end decades of neglect and disenfranchisement and provide the communities with hope and real opportunities. However, there is no substitute for getting dangerous criminals off the street. As mayor, I will accomplish this by guaranteeing “beat integrity,” by ensuring that there are enough police officers to serve every community, that police officers are known to the community and that the next generation of police officers come from the community. I will also ensure that all officers receive high quality and redundant training. As mayor, I will also hire retired police officers with investigatory experience to immediately provide investigative support to the Detectives Division and create a Witness Protection Program to give detectives the ability to protect witnesses and victims. These tools will help the Detectives Division clear cases faster and get more violent criminals off the streets. I will restore the Special Units to ensure so that police can deploy resources to high crime areas or special events without taking officers away from their individual districts. Finally, I will convert enough public school security positions to CPD positions to ensure that there’s a Chicago police officer in every school and to make available hundreds of police officers for deployment to parks and recreational areas where young people gather when school is out.

As to the issues of guns, I will support strong gun control, including those involving background checks and waiting periods. I will also focus on prosecuting individuals who violate gun laws because one of the most effective ways to deter gun crimes is to send a message that people who violate gun laws will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and that people who commit crimes with guns will face long sentences. A critical component of this will be to work with other law enforcement agencies, including the federal government and U.S. attorney’s office.

Paul Vallas on the Issues