Candidate for Mayor
Education: BA, Sarah Lawrence; Masters, Northwestern University
Occupation: Mayor, City of Chicago
Past Political/Civic Experience: Mayor since 2011, former chief of staff to President Obama, former U.S. Representative from 2003-2008
Q: What are the top two issues that should be on the minds of young Chicagoans?
Ensuring every Chicago child has access to a great public school, and giving every Chicagoan a shot at a good job when they enter the workforce. We made full-day kindergarten universal, lengthened the school day, and are giving free City College tuition to any CPS student who graduates with a B-average.
Q: Chicago counted more than 400 homicides in 2014. What is your strategy to lower homicides, shootings and crime in general?
Our return to community policing and focus on prevention has led to historic lows in violent crime. We're moving police from behind the desk to the streets, and keeping more kids in school while focusing on those most at-risk of being involved in violence by giving them intensive tutoring, mentoring and summer jobs.
Q: As mayor, how will you create new jobs in the city?
We've added 73,000 jobs and cut unemployment by a third since taking office, but now we must help neighborhood small businesses with increased lending, keep building a pipeline of highly-trained Chicago workers through our public schools, and continue revitalizing the CTA so that every Chicagoan in every community can access jobs.
Q: Where does improving the CTA rank on your list of priorities? What specifically would you like to improve for riders?
Our city's greatness depends on a strong public transit system that connects neighborhoods to each other and Chicagoans to jobs. We rebuilt the Red Line South and are revitalizing the Blue Line. Next we have to rebuild the Red Line North and continue improving bus service. And don't forget Divvy, which is becoming a very popular public transit option.
Q: Does the recently-passed minimum wage hike in Chicago go far enough?
I strongly support the proposal to raise the minimum wage by 60%. The group of community leaders, experts, aldermen and business leaders came to a commonsense compromise that gives Chicago workers a raise and guarantees our lowest-paid workers a shot at the middle class.
Q: Should the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art be built on the lakefront's Museum Campus? Why or why not?
Yes. There's a reason why many residents and all the other museums on the Museum Campus support this new cultural partner: it turns an ugly parking lot into a park, expands green space, increases access to the lakefront, adds an internationally-unique learning environment, and creates thousands of local jobs.
Q: What would you do to help bikes and cars peacefully coexist on city streets?
We started by building 50 miles of protected bike lanes, and we'll continue building streets that ensure pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers can get around safely.
Q: Do you support or oppose the decriminalization of marijuana?
I support making marijuana possession a ticketable offense, which is exactly what I did. There have been 40 percent fewer arrests for cannabis possession since the law went into effect. Instead of putting people in jail for minor drug offenses, our police should be focused on serious, violent crimes.
Q: What's your favorite movie filmed in Chicago?
Q: Pick one: Blackhawks, Bears, Bulls, Cubs, Sox, Fire?
Q: Which fictional political TV show do you watch: House of Cards, Veep, Scandal, The Good Wife, Parks and Recreation, Alpha House, Madame Secretary?
I watch enough politics during the day. To relax with my family at night, we often watch Modern Family.
Q: What is your favorite spot to grab a beer in Chicago?
Any place with a local brew. Places like Half Acre, Matchbox, Tiny Lounge, Ten Cat, Hopleaf, Machbox, Lagunitas and Bad Apple.
Q: Which is worse: ketchup on a Chicago-style hotdog or thin crust pizza?
Ketchup on a Chicago-style hot dog. We should make that a ticketable offense too!
Q: If you played hooky a la "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," how would you spend your day?
I'd start off with a long bike ride along the lake, grab a late breakfast at Over Easy, see an afternoon movie, peruse the aisles of Unabridged Books, and end with a date with my wife at a neighborhood restaurant.
Q: If elected, do you commit to an interview with the RedEye within one month of taking office?