Chicago, IL

Critical Issues Likely to Decide the 2023 Chicago Mayoral Election

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

With early voting already underway for the Chicago Mayoral election, these are the issues to know when you vote
Early voting for Chicago Mayor has already begun with high turnoutPhoto byBen Schumin/flickr [CC BY 2.0]

The 2023 Chicago Mayoral race has shaped up to be an exciting and fiercely contested election. Key issues include public safety, crime and policing, education, economic development, housing, transportation and infrastructure, government reform, and environmental justice. The key issues for each of the candidates will have wide-reaching consequences for the city and its residents.

Key Issues in the 2023 Chicago Mayoral Election

Public safety is likely to be a major issue, as Chicago residents have long-term concerns about the level of crime in the city. Residents are likely to demand more investment in policing, and for the police to be held more accountable for their actions.

Education is also a major concern, as the city continues to struggle with inadequate educational funding, high dropout rates, and poor academic performance. Residents will expect the next mayor to make substantial progress in addressing these issues.

Economic development is another major issue, as the city has long been plagued by economic stagnation and inequality. Residents will want to see a focus on creating jobs and economic opportunities, as well as improving infrastructure and amenities in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Housing is also a key issue, as Chicago continues to face a shortage of affordable housing. Residents will expect the next mayor to aggressively tackle this problem, as well as reducing homelessness and making the rental market more affordable.

Transportation and infrastructure are also major issues in Chicago, as residents demand better public transport, improved road and pedestrian safety, and greater investment in the city's infrastructure.

Government reform is another key issue, as residents are likely to demand more transparency and accountability from the mayor's office.

Finally, environmental justice is an important issue for Chicago, as the city suffers from high levels of air and water pollution. Residents will expect the next mayor to take strong action in cleaning up the city's environment.

Where the Candidates Fall On the Major Issues

As Chicago begins to vote for the next Mayor, voters focus on which candidates are dedicated to responding to which of the critical issues that are at the core of the cities biggest problems. Each candidate's platform is dedicated to alleviating problems and increasing positive initiates in various areas.

Sophia King's goals include addressing transparency in government and education. She is also committed to decreasing Chicago's violent crime.

Kam Buckner is currently an Illinois State Representative. His “4-Star Plan,” emphasizes safety, justice, economic opportunity, education, and maintaining the city’s finances in the most stable manner possible.

Ja’Mal Green, a community activist known for his involvement in Black Lives Matter, is focused on minority business initiatives, including the Small Business Repair Program and My Turn to Own with aims to increase inner city home ownership. Greens other main focus is on addressing violence in Chicago.

Paul Vallas, the former head of the Chicago Public Schools, will focus on the importance of education and job-creating opportunities, particularly in underserved areas. His plans to improve the quality of education and create pathways to higher education will be central to his campaign.

Rep. Jesús ‘Chuy’ García, a member of the Illinois Senate, the Cook County Board of Commissioners, and Congress, highlights the importance of solving problems related to universal healthcare, the rights of workers, reforming the criminal justice system, and immigrant rights.

Dr. Willie Wilson proposes to help solve Chicago's biggest problems through his "Recover, Restore Rebuild" initiative. His platform largely emphasizes economic recovery, restoring lost jobs, education and the environment.

With endorsements from the Chicago Teachers Union and the American Federation of Teachers, it's no surprise that Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson's main priority is Chicago's education system. Johnson was also a former teacher for the Chicago Public School system.

Alderman Roderick Sawyer comes from a political family and has served on the City Council. His focus is on minority issues as a member of the council's Black Caucus along with education and a variety of ethics issues.

Finally, Lori Lightfoot, the current mayor, will look to build on her previous successes in the areas of public safety, education, and economic development. Her plans to create a fairer and more equitable city, with an emphasis on public health and environmental protection, will be central to her re-election campaign.

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