Brandon Johnson sworn in as Chicago’s new mayor

By Ruth Johnson, Managing Editor & Designer

Brandon Johnson, a former Cook County Commissioner, Chicago Public Schools teacher and Chicago Teachers Union organizer, was sworn in Monday, May 15 as Chicago’s 57th mayor in a celebration on the city’s west side that featured African dancers and gospel singers.

The progressive candidate, 47, ran on a campaign to address public safety, schools and mental health.

In his words:I believe what truly makes us great is our people – and not just the names that show up in our history books, but the ones that show up in our schools, on the beat at the worksite, at the concert hall, and of course in the boardrooms, and of course, at the respite center, looking out for strangers in need,” Johnson said.

In his inauguration address, Johnson reiterated his campaign promises, including plans to improve public transportation, tackle the migrant crisis and pay more attention to giving Chicago residents “treatment, not trauma.”

Johnson said he intends to reopen the mental health clinics that were closed across the South and West Sides by former mayors Richard Daley and Rahm Emanuel.

“Too many in our city go to sleep unhoused and too few families know the security of owning their own home,” he said.

Around 7,000 residents and community members attended his inauguration at the Credit 1 Arena on the campus of University of Chicago.

He took the oath after shaking hands with outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot who said, to applause and roars of approval from the crowd, that this would be a “peaceful transfer of power.”

How he got here: Johnson beat Paul Vallas in the April 4 run-off election with just over 51% of the vote. 

Johnson said he plans to address the city’s budget deficit while still investing in communities and not “breaking the backs of our working people.”

The ceremony concluded with an “Aye” vote from the Chicago City Council to recess until May 24, where Johnson will then preside over his first official council meeting. 

“Let’s do it,” Johnson told Governor J.B. Pritzker and members of the Illinois General Assembly. “Let’s do it together.”