Growing up with nine siblings, who all shared one bathroom, Chicago mayor-elect Brandon Johnson said his father taught him: “We’re only as strong as the person who’s struggling the most.”
Now, after a hotly contested runoff election that drew national attention, Johnson said he’s ready to live by that mantra as he takes office as Chicago’s 57th mayor.
“We need to make sure that we rebuild the rivers, if you will, especially where there’s been drought, to make sure infrastructure and investment flows, because that’s going to make us all stronger,” he said. “Good. Wednesday morning America “.
Johnson talked about his plans for the “GMA3” city, including investing in under-resourced communities to address concerns about crime and education.
Chicago saw about 700 homicides in 2022, down from 2021 — the worst year for shooting deaths since the 1990s — but robberies are up nearly 20%.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, carjackings, robberies and robberies have become more visible in Chicago, spreading from denser parts of the city, including sleepy neighborhoods that until recently were immune to violence, Johnson said.
Johnson said he and his wife are currently raising three children in the Austin community on Chicago’s west side, which he described as “one of the most dynamic neighborhoods” but also one of the most violent.
“It has one of the highest concentrations of black people, arguably anywhere in the world,” he said. “And as much as we love it, we’ve had our share of challenges because of the investment.”
He plans to address the “immediate crisis” of rising crime levels by training and promoting 200 more detectives, implementing city consent decrees and enforcing red flag laws.
But getting to the “root causes” of crime, Johnson said, requires tackling systemic problems, including increasing youth employment and improving mental health services.
As a former public school teacher, Johnson said she is focused on making sure every child receives a high-quality public education by taking a “comprehensive approach.”
“This idea of public housing comes from a deep, deep tradition of real emancipation,” he said. “There is a direct correlation between W-2s closing the achievement gap between black and white and brown students.”
“It’s also unfortunate, given the fact that we have over 20,000 students in the city of Chicago who are without a home, and therefore dealing with a housing crisis, ensuring that there are real economic opportunities that exist in communities,” he added.
Johnson said it was an “exciting opportunity” to engage young voters in Chicago during the election, who came out in force to support his candidacy as part of a “multicultural, intergenerational movement.”
“It was an incredible moment where I taught very young people who are now in their late 20s and early 30s — people who probably didn’t like me very much when they were 12 and 13 — I had to go back to them. And ask for their vote,” he said.
“We didn’t just speak to their hopes and aspirations, we gave tangible evidence of the work we’ve organized around economic, racial and social justice and how we can translate that into real policy,” he said, referring to mental health. , environmental justice, job opportunities and transportation as some of the priorities.
After receiving support from those young voters, Johnson called it a “great honor” to have the opportunity to serve the city of Chicago.
“The sharecroppers’ son is now set to run one of the world’s largest economies. It shows you how extraordinary this country really is,” he said.