With their sights set on the April 4 election, Chicago mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas continued their efforts to both build support and attract voters Saturday.
The candidates stopped by the annual Woodlawn Community Summit in the morning hours before participating in a forum at Kenwood Academy later in the day.
“This is a battle between the politics of old that have left Black communities in particular behind versus a better, stronger pathway forward,” Johnson, a Cook County commissioner, said at the forum.
The two-hour forum was hosted by several groups, including the Coalition of African American Leaders. Both candidates answered questions on a wide range of issues like public safety, economic development and education.
“He was a teacher for five years at a school that I built, and since then, he’s been a union organizer and a union consultant with CTU and still getting paid,” said Vallas, former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, referring to Johnson.
Johnson, meanwhile, said what he’s committed to doing – if elected.
“…Making sure that the ultra rich in this city pay their fair share of taxes,” he said. “It’s actually a democratic value, that’s why my opponent won’t commit to it, he won’t.”
Vallas addressed his party affiliation when asked about comments he made during a 2009 interview.
“So, at the end of the day, I’ve always been a lifelong Democrat,” he said. “That has been my history, those are the offices I run for. I always supported them.”
Meanwhile, moderators asked Johnson about comments he made regarding defunding the police.
“I never denied making the statement, and I did say it.. and I’m not going to defund the police,” he said.