Brandon Johnson criticized Paul Vallas’s education record at a Thursday news conference, which some of Vallas’s supporters interrupted.
Johnson went after Vallas at the press conference at Rainbow PUSH headquarters with the help of people from Philadelphia and New Orleans, where Vallas ran the public school systems after he left Chicago Public Schools in 2001.
“We still are in Philadelphia trying to recover a school district that was destroyed years ago. The buck stops here,” said Kendra Brooks, Philadelphia City Council member.
“Here’s one thing I need to make sure that we’re clear about: not just our belief in public education, but to make sure that we are investing in public education,” Johnson said.
When supporters of Vallas tried to ask questions on his behalf and then take over the mic, supporters of Johnson chanted at them to stop. The police were called, but no one was caught.
Outside, Vallas’s supporters, including a teacher who worked with him in Philadelphia and New Orleans, defended his record as a successful one.
Later, a group of Black elected officials and community leaders from the South and West sides joined Vallas. They called Johnson’s criticisms “desperate” and “not based on facts.”
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“I’m running against somebody who believes that you can cut police, the police budget by $150 million, you don’t have to fill vacancies, and 200 detectives promoted is somehow going to solve the problem of violent crime,” Vallas said
He also got the support of five more Black alderpeople and the help of the former president of the Illinois Senate, Emil Jones.
“Chicago mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson, left, and Paul Vallas shake hands before a mayoral debate at WLS-TV ABC Channel 7’s studio, Thursday, March 16, 2023. | Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times,” said Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere’s official account in a tweet.
Chicago mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson, left, and Paul Vallas shake hands before a mayoral debate at WLS-TV ABC Channel 7’s studio, Thursday, March 16, 2023. | Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times pic.twitter.com/udfY1sR66P
— Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere (@TylerLaRiviere) March 17, 2023
“This election is about the qualified person we want at City Hall, the one who has the experience,” Jones said.
“April 4th we’re gonna send a clear message that this race is not about race and we’re not gonna let somebody dictate, making sure this race is about race,” said 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale.
Johnson also got more support Thursday, this time from former mayoral candidate Kam Buckner. Buckner is the first former candidate to support Johnson in this runoff election.
On Thursday, the candidates will talk to each other in our ABC7 studios.
“The People’s Forum” is on our digital channel 7.2 and our streaming platforms at 7 p.m.
You can watch it Friday night at 10 p.m., right after ABC7 Eyewitness News. It will be shown again at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
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