Obama, Preckwinkle, local aldermen respond to Emanuel’s decision not to run for re-election

By AARON GETTINGER
Staff Writer

Mayor Rahm Emanuel – Herald File Photo
Hyde Park–Kenwood political figures are responding to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s announcement this morning that he will not run for re-election.

Speaking at a news conference without a tie and with his wife, Amy, at his side, Emanuel said he was elected to get things done “and pass the torch when we’ve done our best to do what you hired us to do.”

Within a half hour of the mayor’s press conference, former President Barack Obama, for whom Emanuel served as chief of staff before the 2011 mayoral election, issued a statement, calling the former congressman and Clinton White House aide “a tireless and brilliant public servant.”

“With record job growth and record employment over his terms in office, Chicago is better and stronger for his leadership, and I was a better president for his wise counsel at a particularly perilous time for our country,” he said. “Whatever he chooses to do next, I know he’ll continue to make a positive difference, just as he has throughout his career in public service.”

Cook County Board President and Fourth Ward Democratic Committeewoman Toni Preckwinkle issued a brief statement as well, expressing surprise and thanking him for his present and past political service.

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), who also serves as Fifth Ward Democratic Committeewoman, told the Herald that she was shocked about Emanuel’s decision. Though she stressed how early the mayoral election season is, Hairston said the next mayor will need to have fiscal responsibility, creativity and an ability to work with aldermen and the neighborhoods they represent.

“I’m looking for somebody who is committed to the City of Chicago — to all Chicagoans — who will focus on all the neighborhoods that need the most attention so we can become one Chicago,” she said.

In a statement, Ald. Sophia King (4th) said she wished the Emanuel family well.

“At this time we must continue to engage community leaders as we transition from one administration to the next,” she said. “I look forward to participating in that dialogue and representing the interests of the Fourth Ward throughout this process.”

This story will be updated.

a.gettinger@hpherald.com