Chicago mayoral candidates Johnson and Vallas talk about police, teachers unions

Chicago mayoral candidates Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson spoke at a forum hosted by Alpha Phi Alpha, the Coalition of African American Leaders, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the AKARamaa Foundation.

These are some of the questions and answers given at the forum.


Can you name one specific issue on which you disagree with the Fraternal Order of Police?

Vallas: I think rhetoric that has been communicated through the FOP. I think there's obviously a lot of opposition for certain enhanced accountability provisions which need to be implemented because the consent degree is the floor, it should not be the ceiling… The need to allocate police officers where they are most needed, and to allocate those most experienced officers where they are needed. The younger officers are sent to the toughest districts and the more experienced officers are sent to the softer assignments. 

Can you name one specific issue on which you disagree with the Chicago Teachers Union?

Johnson: I'm going to be the mayor of the City of Chicago for everyone… Understand that my love for public education did not start when I became a teacher or a member of the Chicago Teachers Union. My love of public education is tethered to our entire struggle for liberation. Anyone who is in opposition to Black liberation through public accommodations – particularly public education – then you're going to have a fight with me. There will be some tough decisions to be made when I am mayor of the city of Chicago. And there might be a point within negotiations that the Chicago Teachers Union quest and fight for more resources – we might not be able to do it. Who is better able to deliver bad news to a friend than a friend?

What is your plan to increase the percentage of city contracts that African Americans receive in your first year of office?

Johnson: The economic stratification that exists in this city has been built on structures on purpose. One of the first things I am going to do as the mayor of the city of Chicago is that we will make sure that 50% of goods and contracts are targeted for our people in which 30% minimally would be the target for Black-owned businesses.

Vallas: I am committed to the 50/30 plan. But let me point out that when I was at CPS we hit 55/32. So I've done that before. Let me tell you how I did it before and how I'm going to do it here. First of all removing the obstacles to minority businesses getting work. That means bonding them, that means insuring them. We provided wrap-around bonding insurance.