Vallas and Johnson meet and greet as mayoral runoff nears

CHICAGO (CBS) — There are a little more than two weeks to go until Chicago selects its next mayor – and now, candidates Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson are spending their weekend meeting neighbors and debating each other.

As CBS 2’s Marissa Perlman reported, Cook County Commissioner Johnson (D-1st) spent the day Saturday making the rounds meeting and greeting with local vendors in Little Village.

In the 11th hour of campaigning, it is all about endorsements. Johnson toured the Little Village market with one of the aldermen who has endorsed him, Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th).

At the Woodlawn Community Summit, both candidates were shaking hands with business owners and community leaders.

“I look forward to the remaining two weeks,” said former Chicago Public Schools chief executive officer Vallas. “It’s kind of like a marathon race.”

Each had two minutes to speak – talking policing, housing, and economic development.

“I’ve always viewed the most effective ways of growing communities – the most effective way is really deferring to the communities and empowering the communities to take control of their own destiny,” Vallas said.

“The best thing you can do for a neighborhood is to make sure we are organizing the neighborhood, and that’s who I am through and through – is an organizer,” said Johnson.

And at a mayoral forum on the city’s South Side, both candidates were asked whether the mayoral contest is really a rally between the Chicago Teachers Union – which supports Johnson – and the fraternal order of police – which supports Vallas.

Johnson’s answer was: “This is a battle between the politics of old that have left Black communities in particular behind, versus a better, stronger pathway forward. The best thing that we can do in this moment is to have real deliverables for Black families.”

Vallas’ answer was: “This is a battle to make sure that every single community in this city is a community that is safe and secure. This is a battle that assures that all schools are communities schools; where the resources – the $30,000 per child that is spent on public education – actually finds its way into those neighborhood schools.”

Vallas also campaigned in Pullman Saturday afternoon.

The runoff is two weeks from Tuesday. Early voting starts this coming Monday.

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