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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Statement on Rahm Emanuel's Candidacy for Mayor of Chicago

January 26, 2011

The jokes about Chicago politics have ceased to be funny.
A travesty is occurring in the race for mayor.  Rahm Emanuel was the frontrunner until his legitimacy was challenged by those who, for political reasons, wanted him off the ballot.  Two of three Illinois appellate judges determined that Emanuel does not meet the residency requirements to run for mayor, overturning a lower court decision that he does meet those requirements. Ballots were set to go to the printer without Rahm's name, until the Illinois Supreme Court, which agreed to hear the case, today directed the Chicago Board of Elections to print his name on all ballots until the Court makes its ruling. Early voting is set to begin next week. The general election is February 22nd. 
The facts of the case seem clear to us.  Rahm Emanuel has spent his life in Chicago except for the times he went to Washington to perform public service, first as advisor to President Clinton, then as Representative from Illinois' 5th district, and most recently as chief of staff to the President of the United States.  If he doesn't meet the standard of legitimacy, it is hard to imagine who does.  No one should be penalized for public service.Someone with his resume shouldn't be sent packing because others don't want him to succeed.
We at JAC supported Emanuel in his Congressional race.  Yes, he is a fierce competitor, but always fair and with the interest of the people -- all the people -- at heart.  And no one works harder or has more energy. He understands business and how to advance Chicago's interests in the global marketplace.  He knows that education is the key to Chicago's competitiveness in that marketplace. Whether or not one supports Rahm in his bid for mayor is not relevant.  What is relevant is that good government demands that his name be on the ballot and that politics not trump judicial independence.  We often say how important the judiciary is -- whether it be the Supreme Court or lower courts.  What is happening in Chicago proves that point.  The world is watching to see whether this city can redeem itself from this ugly episode and allow the voters to determine whether or not Rahm Emanuel will be the next mayor of Chicago.

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