Son of ex-Chicago mayor joins race to unseat Lori Lightfoot

South Side Ald. Roderick Sawyer, whose father served as mayor within the Nineteen Eighties, will run for City Hall’s high job, he stated Thursday.

Sawyer’s declaration marks a unprecedented break with Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who chosen him to be half of her City Council management crew as chairman of the well being and human companies committee. In an interview with the Tribune, Sawyer criticized Lightfoot’s combative management model and stated her contempt for aldermen makes it troublesome for the City Council to get issues executed.

“I don’t think I would treat my colleagues as nemesis or an opposing party. We’re all partners in this,” Sawyer stated. “That’s the approach we need to take.”

Asked about Sawyer’s entry into the race Thursday morning, Lightfoot stated she’s going to announce her re-election marketing campaign subsequent week and defended her file.

“Another day, another man who thinks he can do this job better than me,” Lightfoot stated.

A former head of the City Council Black Caucus, Sawyer has been an alderman since 2011, when he gained a race to unseat incumbent Ald. Freddrenna Lyle. His father, Eugene Sawyer, additionally represented the sixth ward in Chatham till 1987, when Mayor Harold Washington died and the City Council voted to appoint him to the job. Eugene Sawyer lost his bid for a time period of his personal to Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Roderick Sawyer’s entry into the race follows former Chicago Public School CEO Paul Vallas’ announcement Wednesday. The more and more crowded subject of these searching for to unseat Lightfoot additionally consists of Illinois state Rep. Kam Buckner, Southwest Side Ald. Raymond Lopez, fifteenth, and businessman Willie Wilson.

Although Sawyer is a member of the City Council progressive caucus, he developed a popularity as a pragmatist somewhat than an ideologue and labored intently with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration. On his manner out the door, Emanuel wrote $20,000 marketing campaign checks to aldermen who had been supportive of his agenda, together with Sawyer, who gave the money away to local people teams.

Despite Lightfoot tapping Sawyer for a committee chairmanship following her election in 2019, their relationship has been fractious. Sawyer instructed the Tribune the mayor was too gradual to implement marketing campaign guarantees, like a civilian police oversight board, which she had stated was a 100 days precedence.

That ordinance handed final summer time, after aldermen together with Sawyer and North Side Ald. Harry Osterman led a gaggle to negotiate a settlement with Lightfoot. The ordinance establishes a citizen panel to oversee Chicago police — however not with all of the powers requested for by the grassroots organizers.

For one, the oversight board would solely have the flexibility to go a nonbinding no-confidence vote on the police superintendent. The ultimate physique has some authority to set Chicago police insurance policies, however Lightfoot has the flexibility to veto insurance policies she doesn’t like, which might then want to be voted on by the City Council.

Sawyer additionally criticized Lightfoot for the way she dealt with the elected faculty board. Lightfoot campaigned in help of one however criticized the invoice that finally handed Springfield.

Sawyer has had some political struggles of his personal which have raised questions on his potential candidacy. In 2019, a little-known candidate compelled Sawyer right into a runoff, which drew raised eyebrows from aldermen who didn’t perceive how an incumbent together with his household legacy within the ward may very well be in such an in depth race towards somebody with out vital marketing campaign resources.

Sawyer instructed the Tribune he was in a “funk” after Brian Sleet, one of his high advisors and shut pals, died, and that helps clarify why he was narrowly compelled right into a runoff.

“I could’ve avoided a runoff if I got 11 votes, 18 votes, but I was there and for a few moments it wasn’t in me,” Sawyer stated. “People saw me, I was mourning.”

Sawyer’s candidacy may pose an added problem to Lightfoot by dividing up her anticipated base of help. In the primary spherical of voting in 2019, Lightfoot emerged first from a 14 candidate subject with lower than 20% of the vote, a lot of it from white wards on the lakefront. This time, Lightfoot’s coalition is anticipated to rely extra closely on Black voters, however Wilson, Sawyer and Buckner may hurt that calculation.

For his half, Sawyer stated he hopes to get broad help.

“I think I’ll have support from business. Hopefully I’ll have support from labor. I think I can argue a case where I’m best suited for this task,” Sawyer stated. “I think people will see that. I’ve already talked to a few business leaders who I think will be supportive.”

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