Mayoral Candidate wants a more equitable Chicago

Brandon Johnson, who has been a Cook County Commissioner since 2018, believes in an equitable Chicago where all the city’s residents can have access to resources and support. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BRANDON JOHNSON.
Brandon Johnson, who has been a Cook County Commissioner since 2018, believes in an equitable Chicago where all the city’s residents can have access to resources and support. PHOTO PROVIDED BY BRANDON JOHNSON.

Mayoral Candidate wants a more equitable Chicago

By Tia Carol Jones

Brandon Johnson thought he was going to be a public school teacher for the rest of his life and he enjoyed doing it. He began his teaching career at Edward Jenner Academy of the Arts in Cabrini Green and also worked at George Westinghouse College Prep High School on the city’s West side, where he is a resident. In October 2022, Johnson, who is a Cook County Commissioner announced his candidacy for Mayor of the City of Chicago.

Johnson was raised by a father who was general contractor, public employee and pastor. His mother was a community leader and raised 10 children. He learned from them that everything he and his siblings did was for the benefit of others.


While Johnson was a teacher at Jenner Academy and at Westinghouse High School; he also served as an organizer for the Chicago Teacher’s Union. In 2018, Johnson was elected as a Cook County Commissioner.


I am “Looking forward to fighting for families all across Chicago. What my wife and I want for our three children, 8, 10 and 15, we want that for all the families in Chicago,” he said.  Johnson wanted to run for Cook County Commissioner because of the healthcare cuts at the County level. He ran on a platform that expands healthcare, opens health clinics, reforms the criminal justice system and creates a budget that speaks to the lives of everyday people in Cook County.


“People took interest in a County Board race because they understand if we’re going to shift and change the dynamics in this city, in this state, in this country, we have to have people who are tethered to the community, who come from the working class, who understand what it takes to get to the middle class, but also have the experiences of living in poverty or below poverty,” he said.


As Cook County Commissioner, Johnson was the lead sponsor on the Just Housing Amendment, which eliminated discrimination towards people who are formerly incarcerated to access housing. He also sponsored the Justice for Black Lives and the Budget for Black Lives, both of which are considered an Equity Plan. Those pieces of legislation resulted in $75 million for public safety and $42 million for guaranteed income. The Cook County Board also secured funding to eliminate up to $1 billion in medical debt. Johnson believes healthcare is a human right and healthcare shouldn’t have to be tied to employment.


Johnson said he is running to shift to an economy that speaks to the needs of people and sets up individuals who have lost for too long in the city; so they can experience the wealth of the city, and no one has to lose, “ultimately to build bridges, not raise them.”


Johnson believes his experience as a classroom teacher, an organizer, a County Commissioner, as well as being in the middle of 10 children growing up, has well-positioned him to manage the complexities of the budget of the City of Chicago, manage the relationships and personalities of 50 Alderpersons in the City Council.
“These are things that require not just vision, it requires someone who has the love and conviction and the desire and capacity and the competency to do that. The middle child of Andrew and Wilma Jean is looking forward to doing that,” he said.


Johnson has an incentive to ensure the City of Chicago works because he and his wife are raising three children in Austin. The family has experienced gun shots outside their home and had a bullet come through their window. He believes that what the city needs is someone who is connected to those kinds of experiences, because that person is able to ensure that the city works for others who have also experienced those situations.


Johnson believes in Chicago and the people in Chicago. He is raising his family in a community that has experienced years of disinvestment. He has watched the wealth of the city expand, while some families are trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B. He wants to make it more convenient for the people to live in Chicago.


“Politics in Chicago, they treat us as if there’s something wrong with us for wanting to have a city that works. And, that we’re an inconvenience to those who want to see this city explode in one of the most traumatic ways, in terms of concentration of wealth, while the rest of us are just struggling everyday to get the ends to meet. I’m going to ensure working people in this city, no matter where you are, you’ll have a Mayor that has the lived experience and has a commitment to doing that,” he said.


For more information about Brandon Johnson and his campaign, visit brandonforchicago.com.

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