A liberal community activist and union organizer with a progressive approach to crime was elected as Chicago‘s new mayor following a nail biting tallying of votes in the Windy City on Tuesday.
Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson, 47, was declared as the city’s new mayor after defeating fellow candidate Paul Vallas, 69, who had the backing of Chicago’s police union, by around 13,000 votes.
Vallas has called Johnson to concede the election, reports ABC Chicago’s Rob Elgas. ‘I am optimistic that better, brighter days are on the horizon,’ Vallas told supporters after his concession.
During the campaign, Johnson called for $80 million to be raised by taxing the wealthy. He has also called for a freeze in property taxes. Vallas, who had strong support from the business community, said the tax plan would be disastrous for Chicago’s economy.
The woman who Johnson will replace, Lori Lightfoot, said in January that despite his endorsements: ‘Brandon Johnson isn’t going to be the mayor of this city.’ On Tuesday, Lightfoot issued her congratulations to the Elgin native.
‘My entire team and I stand ready to collaborate throughout the transition period. As always, I will continue to root for the city I call home, and to work toward more equity and fairness in every neighborhood,’ Lightfoot said in an official statement as she called for unity in Chicago.
Taking to the stage following his victory, Johnson thanked his supporters for helping usher in ‘a new chapter in the history of our city.’
He promised that under his administration, the city would look out for everyone, regardless of how much money they have, whom they love or where they come from.
‘Tonight is the beginning of a Chicago that truly invests in all of its people,’ Johnson said.
Johnson, who is black, recalled growing up in a poor family, teaching at a school in Cabrini Green, a notorious former public housing complex, and shielding his kids from gunfire in their west side neighborhood.
Read More: Democrat Brandon Johnson is elected as Chicago’s new mayor