Toni Preckwinkle: ‘I know the energy of young people’


Ignacio Calderon

Toni Preckwinkle touted her endorsements from Chance the Rapper and The Chicago Teachers Union.

By Knox Keranen, Staff Reporter

Toni Preckwinkle wants to continue delivering progressive change to Chicagoans, if elected mayor in the April 2 runoff.

Preckwinkle said she pushed to revamp ailing communites during her 28 years in civic positions, including 4th Ward alderman from 1991–2010 and Cook County Board of Commissioners president
since 2010.

“I worked to change communities and I know how hard that transformative work is,” Preckwinkle said during a March 21 debate. “It takes patience and courage. My opponent has suggested that transformative work is easy.”

Preckwinkle, who worked as a teacher in Illinois for 10 years, was backed by the Chicago Teachers Union in December.

“[Preckwinkle] has a clear track record [of] civic service and a clear set of platform planks on issues related to education … that align with the mission of this union,” said Director of Communications for CTU Chris Geovanis.

The CTU is currently bargaining for a new contract with Chicago Public Schools and a separate contract with 13 charter schools. A strike is possible in the fall, Geovanis said.

Preckwinkle is committed to expanding  bargaining rights changed in the 1995 Chicago School Reform Amendatory Act, which gave Mayor Richard M. Daley complete control over CPS changes,
Geovanis said.

The political agenda of the next mayor will dictate the outcome of CPS negotiations, Geovanis added.

Former mayoral candidate Willie Wilson said that South and West Side community members have expressed distrust of Preckwinkle. He said they are concerned about the soda tax she sponsored, which was repealed in October 2017, and her ties to embattled Ald. Ed Burke (14th Ward).

Community members also voiced disapproval of Preckwinkle representing the interests of the “Chicago Political Machine,” Wilson said.

Chance the Rapper announced his endorsement of Preckwinkle March 21, which could boost her voter turnout.

“It is important to have the support of someone like Chance,” Preckwinkle said. “Not only is he a great artist, but he has a great sense of the importance of
civic engagement.”

Voter turnout was low in the Feb. 26 general election among those aged 25-44, as reported March 7 by The Chronicle. Yet, Preckwinkle said young people share a sense of civic engagement with Chance, who has been active in local politics.

“As a teacher, I know the energy and enthusiasm of young people,”  Preckwinkle said. “I am very grateful for [Chance’s] support, particularly since he called out some of the issues, [including] educational equity and criminal
justice reform.”