Check out our new Brandon Johnson "Getting Things Done" video!

ON THE ISSUES

As a public school teacher, union organizer and Cook County commissioner, Brandon is the only candidate who has been a leader in our communities in the fights for fully funded public schools, affordable housing, green jobs and access to mental health care. As mayor, he will provide the leadership to put Chicago on the right track. Brandon stands for the people, not entrenched special interests and political insiders. He will advance smart, innovative solutions that address the root causes of violence and poverty.

Public Safety & police reform

As mayor, I will chart a new strategy for public safety, rather than relying on the same failed approaches that have brought trauma to communities across the city. I will work with police and first responders to invest in community-based interventions that de-escalate conflict, reduce violence and make our neighborhoods safer. I will create an Office of Community Safety, reopen the city’s mental health clinics, fully fund year-round youth employment, and foster partnerships between communities and law enforcement to make critical investments preventing crime before it happens.

The Chicago Police Department must comply with the federal consent decree and increase its homicide clearance rate. I will work closely with the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability to hold police accountable and evaluate the goals and performance of the CPD, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the Police Board. I will remove the flawed gang database and support Treatment Not Trauma, reduce inefficiencies in public safety spending, and direct more funds to violence prevention and community safety programming that address the root causes of community violence.


And my administration will attack these root causes of crime and poverty by investing in the basics: good schools, good jobs, housing and mental health.

Affordable Housing

We absolutely should be targeting investments on the South and West sides. The contrast between the North and the South and West couldn’t be any more stark. The North Side is 60 percent white and 35 percent of residents make more than $100,000 a year. On the South and West sides, it is 2 percent white and half of the residents make less than $25,000 a year. Downtown must adapt to the post-Covid landscape, whether that means converting commercial to residential, or new bioscience labs taking the place of offices. On the other hand, on the South and West sides, decades of structural racism have led to under-investment, and it is the government's role to step in where the private sector has failed our communities. However, the process must be truly community-led, and must be inclusive of local businesses and workers.

Every resident of Chicago deserves access to stable, long-term, affordable, healthy and dignified housing. Brandon will work to make housing a human right in Chicago, which includes supporting the Bring Chicago Home ordinance to protect our 65,000+ unhoused, instituting stronger protections against evictions, passing the Real Estate Transfer Tax on multi-million dollar property sales and expanding the Affordable Requirements Ordinance.

City Budget & Revenue

No one should be too poor to live in one of the richest cities in the world. As mayor, Brandon will work to make the wealthy pay their fair share and get our city’s budget priorities in order, just as he did as a teacher, organizer and Cook County commissioner.

We need to start by getting the city’s finances in order. For too long, including under the current mayor, we’ve been kicking the can down the road. The longer we do that, the worse the eventual cost will be and the longer we’ll have to keep paying off yesterday’s mistakes instead of making needed investments in a better tomorrow. I have a detailed plan to pay down our debts while ramping up needed investments.

These investments include not just needed infrastructure but also investments in housing, health, mental health and child care. We also need investment in education and training to ensure that we can attract better jobs in growing industries, and that Chicagoans can hold those jobs. I will ramp up investments in these areas over four years to $1 billion per year, and pay for them by reducing unneeded and wasteful spending in other areas.

Jobs & Workers

In order to protect workers and encourage economic growth, Chicago should regulate corporations to support the quality of life of working class people, and lead the way on fighting for a Green New Deal.

This includes instituting free public transit, passing the Rideshare Living Wage ordinance to protect gig workers and expanding child care and pre-kindergarten to create thousands of additional jobs and make child care more accessible and affordable for working parents.

We also need to change how economic development incentives are provided in this city: regularizing the use of TIF funds, requiring and enforcing binding agreements to create specified numbers of jobs and hire local workers, and focusing on revitalizing neighborhood business districts and industrial development/redevelopment to provide good union jobs for all Chicagoans - not just those in high-income jobs.

Education

As a former teacher, Brandon is passionate about making sure that every student in Chicago – regardless of their race, income or zip code – receives a fully resourced, supportive, safe and healthy learning environment. As mayor, he will work to expand sustainable community schools from pre-kindergarten to the City Colleges, providing academic, health and social support beyond the school day.

We are a decade removed from with the greatest closure of Black and Latinx schools in Chicago’s history. If we can build sustainable community schools alongside quality affordable housing, we will reverse the trend. We must also tackle the violence epidemic with more holistic measures that provide resources and trauma intervention for students and families.  

Mayors Rahm Emanuel and Lori Lightfoot have both presided over precipitous declines in pre-kindergarten enrollment. This is not simply a result of demographic change, but the district moving to an online, centralized application process for preschool that is elitist and prejudiced against families with little access to technology. Enrollment also decreases due to poor program design. This is also evident in a number of special education crises – from State monitor to transportation – over the last 10 years.

School communities need direct investment, guarantees of staffing and program offerings. Every school should have a library and librarian, adequate clinicians and counselors, thriving arts offerings and sports programs and teams. And the mayor of Chicago has an obligation to be actively fighting in partnership for the revenue required to fulfill those basic needs for every school in the city, not just some.

If our city going to compete successfully in the 21st century, we need to ensure that our children, from every community, possess 21st century skills. We need to tie workforce development efforts into our schools, starting in the earliest grades, and help CPS to do its job by providing needed support around school safety, helping students traumatized by violence, expanding school-based health centers and improving access to technology. What we cannot do is cut City aid to schools as the current mayor is doing, and plans to do as we implement an elected school board. Then we need to work together to increase school funding and institute a fairer school funding formula.

Environmental Justice

We need Chicago to lead the way in protecting the communities most affected by pollution, and take a strong stand to mitigate climate disaster.

We also need to make Chicago a leader in sustainability: We need to find new and better ways to support economic growth that is environmentally sustainable, and make our city a center of the growth industries of the future that involve sustainable, green and circular economy principles, where the jobs increasingly will be. We also need to address the legacy of environmental racism that has made some of our neighborhoods “sacrifice zones,” where polluters are allowed to foul the air and water in ways that undermine the health of the entire community.

As mayor, I will conduct a cumulative impact assessment to advance comprehensive environmental regulations, work to outfit Chicago Public Schools buildings with green HVAC systems, new ventilation solar panels and other renewable energy sources, and reopen and fully fund the city’s Department of Environment.

It’s great that Chicago City Hall has a green roof, but that commitment to environmental sustainability needs to filter down through the entire building. A better environment will mean a more livable city for all – which will mean a better economy.

Health Care

As a classroom teacher, Brandon worked closely with children who were experiencing hunger, chronic illness and health crises. Growing up, he often waited in long lines at Cook County Hospital for treatment for his own asthma.

As mayor, he will tackle inequality that leads to disparate health outcomes for working families, including bringing equity to citywide lead line replacement, expanding frontline workers in the Chicago Department of Public Health and creating a public fund to make home care a more accessible public service.

Good Government

We must ensure that public institutions manage our public resources in a way that maximizes their potential to do good for the residents who need them.

As mayor, Brandon will enact a “Truth in Budgeting” law that would create more transparency around city spending and provide more space for public input on city finances. He will also champion public financing of elections to limit outsize corporate influence in politics, prioritize small donors from within city limits and create a more fair and just campaign environment.

Immigration

Chicago must lead with and live by the promise to be a sanctuary city and welcome immigrants and refugees, and treat them with dignity and respect. This sanctuary promise must extend to everyone who needs it in our city, and residents both old and new. Our public schools must be sanctuaries for all children by investing in dual language programs, ethnic studies and English as a Second Language (ESL). We must coordinate efforts with local communities with the infrastructure to support displaced immigrants and refugees, and coordinate efforts at all levels of government to provide humane conditions for everyone.

We must also work to protect the social fabric of immigrant communities like Chinatown, Pilsen, Little Village, West Ridge, much of Albany Park and others to continue to be ports of entry by protecting commercials corridors such as 18th Street, and Wentworth and Devon avenues, by investing in them and providing assistance to our small businesses and hard-working people.

We must reduce inefficiencies in the Chicago Police Department to free up staffing to protect street vendors in Little Village from violence, and work with vendors throughout the city on streamlining the process to obtain Business Affairs and Consumer Protection licenses. Engage commercial kitchens and violence prevention programs, and expand spaces like the Discount Mall on 26th Street, so more street vendors can have safe and warm spaces to work.

Building on his track record of multi-racial solidarity on the Country Board — including collaborating with Latinx colleagues to eliminate the gang database and secure legal representation for immigrants facing deportation — Brandon will work to strengthen Chicago’s CityKey program and fully resource services that support displaced immigrants arriving in our city.

reproductive rights

There are three things I would like to make absolutely clear. One: abortion is health care. Two: abortion should be a constitutional right. Three: We will not accept an America – or a Chicago – that goes back in time.

There is no middle ground on abortion. There is no middle ground on reproductive health care. Individuals should always have the right to control what happens to their own bodies – not the government.

As a teacher, community organizer and candidate for the next mayor of Chicago, I will not stop fighting until abortion access is completely secure for people all over this country. ​​​Reproductive health must be an integral part of any health program or plan. Without access to a full range of reproductive services, women and others who can become pregnant simply cannot be said to have adequate health care.

The consequences of the Supreme Court overturning Roe are dire. It is not an exaggeration to say that banning safe, legal and medically assisted abortion will cause great harm. So we must fight even harder for women of color, young women and women living below the poverty line. We must fight harder for cisgender women, and transgender and non-binary individuals. We must fight for women who will risk their lives and their livelihoods to end an unwanted pregnancy. We must fight for people who no longer have access to basic reproductive health care.

Black women in Chicago experience the highest rates of maternal mortality and morbidity rates. That’s largely due to structural inequality that leaves them underinsured or with limited access to quality health care. That’s why I am fundamentally committed to investing in and expanding our public health clinics – and making sure that abortion, contraception and reproductive care are safe, free and accessible. As mayor, I would ensure that additional public health clinics were opened, especially in schools and in neighborhoods where current services are woefully inadequate. Free or low-cost contraceptive services should be available to all, regardless of their insurance status. I also strongly support full access to abortion services, fertility treatments and other reproductive health care. and I would make sure that these are included in the health insurance plans offered to all city workers (including those workers in Chicago Public Schools).  

And if I have the honor of being elected the next mayor of Chicago, I can guarantee that on this issue, the women and non-binary individuals of this city will always have me in their corner.

Transportation

A safe, reliable transit system is fundamentally important if Chicago is to grow jobs and employment. Chicago’s transit infrastructure is a tremendous asset, but we need to do better at connecting residents with jobs and educational opportunities. We will need to address funding shortfalls for transit, but at the same time, we can be doing a lot better with the resources we already have. I want to see the CTA as a customer-focused agency with service frequency and reliability as the highest priorities. As just one example, we need to create a citywide bus lane network and bus rapid transit system that gives buses priority over other traffic.

Every stakeholder in the use of Chicago’s sidewalks, railways and roadways must work collaboratively toward safety. The CTA needs a vast overhaul in terms of reliability and increased access, as well as safety for workers and riders. Reducing or eliminating fares for some, and increasing access to transit will increase ridership and mass transit solvency, and increase employment in communities where unemployment rates are high. We must be responsive to trends and feedback from CTA riders, and make changes such as increased late evening hours, trains and trips. We also need mental health professionals and housing advocates with resources to house the homeless and treat those with mental illness by addressing root causes, instead of criminalizing poverty and creating tension between commuters and those harmed by systemic inequity.

As mayor, I will also prioritize walking and biking as a public accommodation, ensuring that it is 1) integrated into the architecture of people-traffic with reimagined streetscapes that protect pedestrians and cyclists, and 2) a component of good health, neighborhoods with affordable housing, and access to jobs and schools. This includes reduced speed limits and automobile access in select areas of the city. I will also support a rapid-response CDOT team and municipal sidewalk snow and ice removal program, and create car-free zones in communities to promote safe walkability and recreation for children.

We also need to install well-designed, dedicated bike lanes, so that cyclists feel safe on our streets. By investing in viable alternatives to automobiles, we can reduce congestion and make getting around Chicago faster and more pleasant for everyone.

GET INVOLVED.

By providing your cell phone number you consent to receive periodic campaign updates through automated text messages from Friends of Brandon Johnson. For SMS, Msg & Data rates may apply. For SMS, text HELP for help, STOP to end.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.