Ald. Sophia King (4th), chair of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus, threw her hat into the ring today, seeking to send Mayor Lori Lightfoot into political retirement.
King, 57, declared her candidacy for mayor the same way Lightfoot launched her uphill battle for a second term: by releasing a carefully-crafted campaign video.
In it, King targets Lightfoot’s most glaring weaknesses: violent crime and the perception of it, as well as the mayor’s combative, dictatorial style of governing.
King described violent crime as “issue no. 1, no. 2 and no. 3” with Chicago voters.
She told the Sun-Times she will start attacking the problem by firing Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, giving “burned-out, over-scheduled and under-appreciated” police officers more time off and authorizing incentives needed to fill 1,408 sworn police vacancies.
She would also take a serious look at restoring some or all of the 614 police vacancies that Lightfoot eliminated to help balance her 2021 budget.
As for Chicago’s $33 billion pension crisis, King said there are “progressive ways that we can get sustainable and progressive income” to stave off bankruptcy at the four city employee pension funds.
“That’s something we’re gonna roll out soon,” she said.
Appointed by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel after the 2018 resignation of Ald. Will Burns, King has close ties to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the vanquished mayoral challenger who chairs the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization.
King’s husband, Alan, a house music DJ and Chicago attorney, is a basketball-playing buddy of former President Barack Obama.
That is, in part, how she came to be appointed by Emanuel, who was Obama’s first White House chief of staff. It’s also how she out-raised her four opponents in the February 2017 4th Ward special election by a nearly six-to-one margin.