Lightfoot, Preckwinkle face off in FOX 32 mayoral forum

Image 1 of 8

Photo credit: FOX 32 Evening Web Producer Nic Flosi

Candidates Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle squared off Tuesday at FOX 32 for another mayoral forum.

Among some of the topics discussed were the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago taxes, potholes, bringing in business to the city, President Donald Trump, legalizing marijuana, bringing a casino to Chicago, and more.

The two runoff rivals were as surprised as everyone else by the state's attorney's decision Tuesday morning to drop all charges against Jussie Smollett related to faking a hate crime.

“I have a lot questions as to why these charges were dismissed. I don't -- from what I understand there wasn't a fulsome explanation of that. I think the public deserves to hear it,” Lightfoot said.

State's Attorney Kim Foxx is a close ally and former chief of staff to Preckwinkle, who voiced support.

“You know, I’m sure the state's attorney will, at the appropriate time, respond more fully as to the reasons that her office took this action,” Preckwinkle said.

“President Preckwinkle stood in that rally and then doubled down multiple times since Saturday and endorsed this awful, divisive language. You cannot be the leader for the entire city when you will not confront people who say things that are intended to divide us, not bring us together,” Lightfoot said.

With the next mayor needing to find a billion dollars, just to pay for government employees' pensions, neither candidate offered many details, though a few emerged when pressed.

In response to FOX 32 moderator Mike Flannery asking if Preckwinkle if she has ruled a sales tax increase, she said, “I haven't ruled out anything, other than a soda pop tax.”

Lightfoot was asked the same question regarding a sales tax.

“No, absolutely not!” she exclaimed. “I think it's regressive.”

“One of the ones I’ve talked about is the potential, potential for a tax on high-end law firms, accounting firms -- a small fee that they would pass on to their clients that would have the potential to generate tens of millions, if not more,” Lightfoot added.

Preckwinkle also shared her thoughts on President Trump.

“We live in a very difficult time. We have a President of the United States that has demeaned and demonized segments of our population based on their ethnic origin and religion. It’s a real challenge for local elected officials because Trump represents in a lot of ways, the worst of our country,” Preckwinkle said regarding the president.

Lightfoot also weighed in on Chicago police and their relations with communities.

“We have to focus on the fact that race does matter in policing. We remain one of the most segregated cities in the country,” Lightfoot said regarding city policing.

Lightfoot and Preckwinkle estimate they've done about 60 debates and forums during this campaign, setting a new standard for accessibility and openness.