Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces He Will Not Seek Re-Election

September 04, 2018 - 10:53 am
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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday morning at a last-minute press conference that he will not be running for re-election.

Mayor Emanuel announced he will be stepping down after serving since 2011.

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"This has been the job of a lifetime, but it is not a job for a lifetime," Emanuel said.

"My first day as Mayor of this great city, I promised to make tough choices and face the hard truths we have not confronted, even when it hurts. Every day for the past seven and a half years, that is what I tried my level-best to do; to improve our schools, make our community colleges relevant, put our fiscal house on a stable footing, confront violence, and rebuild trust between police and the community, modernize our transportation systems, invest in our neighborhood parks and libraries, and grow our economy into an engine of jobs and opportunity for all Chicagoans. I am not shy and together we have not shied from a challenge.

"Today the time has come to make another tough choice. As much as I love this job and will always love this city and its residents, I have decided not to seek re-election," Emanuel announced.

Emanuel said he and his wife Amy decided to "write another chapter together" as their three children have left for college. 

"Amy and I are still young – and Amy still looks it. And we look forward to writing that next chapter in our journey together," he said. "I’ll always be here for the future of this city – not as mayor, but in the most important role anyone can play, as citizen. I hope I’ll find ways to answer the call I’ve asked of every citizen: to do my part to stand up for the next generation, who deserve the doors of opportunity to be open and the spark of hope to light their eyes.

"Together, since May of 2011, through thick and thin, we tried to do right by our city’s future. No matter how difficult the path we never wavered or shrunk from our responsibilities.  And I will never forget the honor it has been to serve alongside you the people of Chicago every step of the way," he went on to say.

Emanuel closed the conference saying, "From the bottom of my heart, thank you. God bless you. And God bless the people of Chicago."

Emanuel, 58, was a Democratic congressman and chief of staff to President Barack Obama before becoming mayor in 2011. He followed Richard M. Daley, who was mayor for more than 20 years. His won a second term in a 2015 runoff.

In response to the news, former President Barack Obama said:

"As a mayor, a congressman, and my first White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel has been a tireless and brilliant public servant. His work to improve our schools is paying dividends by helping our teachers and students achieve faster academic improvement than students in 96 percent of America’s school districts. The announcement to establish universal pre-K in Chicago, on top of universal kindergarten, will give all our kids the best possible start. And his implementation of debt-free community college will help prepare all our young people for the new economy. With record job growth and record employment over his terms in office, Chicago is better and stronger for his leadership, and I was a better President for his wise counsel at a particularly perilous time for our country.
 
I’ve been blessed to call Rahm my friend. Whatever he chooses to do next, I know he’ll continue to make a positive difference, just as he has throughout his career in public service. And Michelle and I wish Rahm and Amy all the best as they consider this next phase in their lives."

 U.S. Senator Dick Durbin released the following statement regarding Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to not seek re-election:

"Rahm's record of public service spans Congress, the White House, and the fifth floor of City Hall in Chicago.  I have worked closely with him at every level of his public career.  I always knew a call from Rahm was an invitation to join him in a bold, ambitious effort to make life better for those he served.  It has been my honor to join him in these great ventures.  Rahm has left his mark and I wish him and Amy the best in the days ahead."

House Speaker Michael J. Madigan released the following statement:

“I want to thank Rahm Emanuel for his service to our city as a member of Congress, as chief of staff to President Obama, and most notably as our mayor.

Mayor Emanuel offered steady leadership through difficult times. His efforts to balance the budget, stabilize pensions, and make tough decisions consistently reflected his commitment to do what was best for the future of our city, not what was easy. As Chicago continues to move forward and grow as an international city, we will remain grateful for Mayor Emanuel’s leadership.”

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said:

"I was surprised by Mayor Emanuel’s announcement this morning that he has decided not to seek re-election. I want to thank him for leading our city for the past eight years and also for his service to the nation –his time in Congress and as Chief of Staff to President Obama. Being mayor of the nation’s third-largest city is extraordinarily difficult and all-consuming. I wish him and Amy well in their future endeavors."