Brandon Johnson in Springfield says 'demonizing children is wrong' after Chicago chaos
CHICAGO - Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson said the teenagers who rampaged through downtown Chicago last weekend deserve sympathy as much as punishment.
"Demonizing children is wrong. We have to keep them safe as well," Johnson said after speaking to lawmakers earlier Wednesday.
While the mayor-elect said he doesn't "condone" the violent assaults and robberies committed downtown last weekend, he offered no specific plans regarding the threat of renewed violence this summer, speaking mostly in general terms about youth.
"They're young. Sometimes they make silly decisions. They do. And so we have to make sure that we're investing so that young people know they're supported. And we also have to make sure that police officers who put their lives on the line have the resources that they need to keep us safe," Johnson said.
CHICAGO MAYOR-ELECT BRANDON JOHNSON: 'NOT CONSTRUCTIVE TO DEMONIZE YOUTH STARVED OF OPPORTUNITIES'
The mayor-elect spoke to a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday, as Mayor Lori Lightfoot did four years ago.
But where Lightfoot knew little of the inner workings of the state capitol, Johnson once worked for Senate President Don Harmon of Oak Park and was a lobbyist for the Chicago Teachers Union.
The CTU's call for more state money to fund massive new hiring in Chicago's public schools is a top priority for Johnson.
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"Investing to create 200 more jobs in the Chicago Public Schools can yield incredible dividends going forward," Johnson said.
Johnson said nothing in public Wednesday about his proposed $800 million in Chicago tax increases, several of which require the General Assembly to approve.
He did tell reporters that he's already begun key conversations with lawmakers.