Chicago is at a crossroads now that Mayor Emanuel announced he will not seek re-election. This is a big moment for every person and business in the Chicago region. As I told WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, NPR and Bloomberg earlier this week, Mayor Emanuel has been good for the growth and development of the city. Our skyline in recent years included as many as 53 cranes building our city bigger and stronger, and the growth continues. O’Hare is becoming a 21st Century global gateway, the most modern in the world. We’re providing free pre-K for all four-year-olds, and free tuition at Chicago City Colleges for CPS students who have good grades. And we have financial stability. Mayor Emanuel put city pensions on a sustainable track. These are key things businesses need to keep creating jobs and opportunities for people. The Chamber and our members have not agreed with the mayor on everything, but there’s sure been a lot to like. We thank the mayor for this.
The City of Chicago faces challenges. Businesses must be part of the solution. We want to continue to partner with government. A big part of the answer is job creation. Chicago needs a mayor who understands that and will work with businesses to have a climate that attracts and encourages investment in talented people; in jobs, education and training, and in key infrastructure like airports and mass transit. Our communities thrive when our businesses thrive, and our businesses thrive when our communities thrive. They’re intertwined. If we work together, we can expand economic opportunity. That, itself, will help solve a lot of problems.
Chicago has so much going for it, things that are bigger than any one person. We have the best workforce and transportation system. The MPEA is the top convention center in the country. We’re the number-one restaurant city. We have a thriving array of industries to employ people. And we have a diversity of people and cultures, and of natural and human-made beauty and art, that makes people want to call Chicago home. Tough, smart decision-making is what got us here and it’s what our business community will look for in Chicago’s next mayor.
I look forward to working with you to ensure the business community’s priorities are heard and understood by the next mayor.