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Chicago Mayor Candidates Debate

Chicago - While Rahm Emanuel answered questions at a Chicago Board of Election Commissioners hearing, the other leading candidates for mayor faced off in a forum at the University of Illinois Chicago.

In one of the liveliest exchanges, former School Board Boss Gery Chico and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun traded jibes over problems at the Chicago Public Schools. She declared that Chico should take responsibility for some of the things that have gone wrong in the schools.

Chico declared himself proud of his record at the Board of Education and called on Braun to admit that some of the education initiatives she claims actually came from Chico. After delivering his rejoinder, Chico exited the stage to attend a previously scheduled fundraiser. Before leaving, he attempted to shake Braun’s hand; she appeared to take offense and to decline to shake hands.

City Clerk Miguel Del Valle brought many in the large crowd to their feet with a vitriolic attack on Emanuel’s alleged role in “blocking comprehensive immigration reform.” He said Emanuel could not be trusted as mayor to be responsive to the concerns of immigrant Chicagoans.

A spokesman for the Emanuel campaign responded: “Rahm and [immigration reform champion] Rep. Luis Gutierrez had the same voting record on immigration in Congress.” The spokesman added that, in recent weeks, Emanuel has spoken to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid urging passage of the DREAM Act, designed to create a path to citizenship for more than 2 million immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

The sponsors left an empty seat on the stage, with a name plate in large letters reading “Rahm Emanuel.” It was used as a rhetorical prop by Del Valle, Moseley Braun and Meeks. At two separate points during the debate, Meeks moved Emanuel’s empty chair back and forth on the stage with theatrical flair.

Other candidates on the stage included Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Illinois), State Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago) and Rev. Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins.

The forum was co-sponsored by a series of community groups, including the South Side Organization of Unity and Liberation (SOUL.) Other groups who sent delegations to the event: Kenwood-Oakland Community Council, Lakeview Citizens Council and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.

Keywords: DREAM Act, Gery Chico, Miguel Del Valle, rahm emanuel

Posted in LSNA en la Prensa