CHICAGO - On Friday, former Congressman Luis Gutierrez sought to end all the political speculation he ignited by recently moving back to Chicago from Puerto Rico.
"This will be my home. I will participate as millions of other Chicagoans in the next mayoral campaign — not as a candidate, but as a voter," he said.
After retiring from the U.S. House, Gutierrez lived in an oceanfront home near Negron on the Caribbean Island.
Gutierrez signaled that, while he won't put his name on the ballot again here in the city of his birth, where his family remains, he will work for those here in violation of U.S. immigration law.
"My grandson knows he's seeing me tonight. There are millions of people, right, who left to go to work today who don't have that same guarantee," he said.
Thirty-five years ago, Gutierrez was widely considered Chicago’s most influential Hispanic politician, helping to elect Harold Washington as the city's first Black mayor. Then, after Washington’s death, he endorsed Richard M. Daley.
There was long speculation that Gutierrez might run himself, perhaps ending that once and for all today.
"if you wanna know what role I’m gonna play is making sure that (immigration reform) is part of the debate — not as a candidate but as a citizen," he said.
There may be multiple reasons for Gutierrez’s return to Chicago, the city of his birth. While his oceanfront home in Puerto Rico, at one point, did sustain significant storm damage, his daughter's been politically active here, including an unsuccessful bid for public office.