Brandon Johnson

February 24, 2023

Lucas Martinez

Brandon Johnson has experienced firsthand school closures, unemployment and gun violence in his West Side community.

The former teacher, who later became an organizer with the Chicago Teachers Union, is now running for mayor.

In 2018, Johnson was elected commissioner of the 1st District of Cook County, where he led efforts to pass the Just Housing Ordinance to prohibit housing discrimination against formerly incarcerated people.

He has also been a part of efforts to eliminate the gang database, secure legal representation for immigrants facing deportation and advance recognition of Indigenous People’s Day.

Crime and Public Safety

Johnson said he will work with police and first responders to invest in community-based interventions, in attempts to de-escalate conflict and reduce violence to make Chicago neighborhoods safer.

He wants to:

  • create an Office of Community Safety,
  • work closely with the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability,
  • remove gang databases and support Treatment Not Trauma, a program that aims to create a 24-hour crisis response hotline for mental health related emergencies and to reopen Chicago’s mental health clinics and
  • invest in the community: schools, jobs, housing and mental health.

Johnson said the Chicago Police Department must comply with the federal consent decree and increase its homicide clearance rate.


Johnson intends to make housing investments on the South and West sides of the city.

He plans to:

  • pass the Real Estate Transfer Tax on multi-million dollar property sales and
  • expand the Affordable Requirements Ordinance, which requires residential developments with 10 or more units that receive approval for entitlement, a city land purchase or financial assistance to provide a portion of the units as affordable housing.

He also supports the Bring Home Chicago Ordinance, a grassroots movement committed to creating a dedicated revenue stream to combat homelessness in Chicago.

Economic Development 

Johnson wants to ramp up investments in infrastructure, housing, health, mental health and child care by $1 billion per year over the next four years.

He intends to:

  • expand child care and pre-kindergarten to create more jobs and provide accessible child care for working parents,
  • bring equity to citywide lead line replacement and
  • create a public fund to make healthcare an accessible public service, while increasing frontline workers in the Department of Public Health.


If elected, Johnson would offer free public transit for certain residents and invest in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, especially in Black and Brown communities.

Johnson said that the Chicago Transit Authority must be accountable to residents of the city of Chicago and that his administration “will require CTA leadership to provide accurate and regular reports on service, ridership and system improvements.”


As a former teacher, Johnson said he is passionate about providing every Chicago student a fully resourced, supportive and safe learning environment, regardless of race, income or zip code.

He plans to:

  • build Sustainable Community Schools alongside quality affordable housing,
  • make sure every school has a library and librarian, adequate clinicians and counselors, as well as art offerings and sports programs and teams,
  • provide support around school safety, helping students traumatized by violence, expanding school-based health centers and improving access to technology and
  • work to increase school funding.