Mayor Raoul? Not so fast, says Kwame

By LINDSAY WELBERS
Staff Writer

State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-13) is denying that he is considering a run for mayor.

The Sun Times’ Michael Sneed reported an unnamed source said Raoul could be a “bona fide contender” to run against Mayor Rahm Emanuel in February. Raoul denied that was his plan.

“I think periodically my name gets thrown out there for offices,” Raoul said. “I think part of it is clearly from — as indicated that recent polling — there’s disenchantment from different constituencies in the city with the current mayor … I think sometimes people throw names out there to divide a community and I don’t want to be part of any of that,” Raoul said.

Raoul did not rule out a run for the office in the future: he stressed it is not something he is considering this election cycle.

“Anything that I do I’m going to put the appropriate preparation into and I don’t think a job like mayor of Chicago is something you start thinking [about] six months before an election. That shows naiveté as to what it takes to prevail and also shows a lack of appreciation for what the office is.”

He speculated that some of the disenchantment with Emanuel’s tenure as mayor comes in part from his aggressive, top-down style of leadership. Other problems for Emanuel come from economic challenges the city faced after Mayor Richard M. Daley left office.

“Once you start revealing all the problems [like] pension obligation, other debt facing the city, the reality is you can’t do things and hide them the way they had been done in the past. Once you begin to pull the cover off these things you’re presiding over a city that is troubled,” Raoul said.

He also said part of Emanuel’s political unpopularity comes as a result of the school closures. Those could be helped by “figuring out a way to be less adversarial and more cooperative and inclusive.”

“I don’t think its as easy as saying ‘you can’t close schools’ or ‘you should close schools’ I think those questions should be determined on a case-by-case basis with both administration and the community being informed and involved,” Raoul said.

l.welbers@hpherald.com