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Daley discusses his mayoral run
by Matt Simonette

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Attorney and administrative official William Daley has a last name that, for many Chicagoans, instantly brings to mind the word "mayor"—his father and brother held that post for years. But Daley thinks his particular skill-set and work experience—he was President Bill Clinton's Secretary of Commerce as well as President Barack Obama's chief of staff, among other positions—qualifies him for the top post in Chicago city government in the years ahead.

Windy City Times: What prompted you to run? How do you think your work and experience to this point would benefit City Hall?

William Daley: I come to this differently than a lot of the other candidates. Even though I grew up my whole life in Chicago, and and my kids and grandkids are here, I have not been a career politician or a career government official, not that that's a criteria for governing right now. But I've been around policy-making my whole life. I think the combination, and having been Commerce Secretary, gives me the perspective of what's needed in this city and managing a "company" that has difficult financial problems, with myriad issues, and a diverse electorate and populace. I think I'm in a good position to do that and understand where the city is at.

WCT: What are two or three most significant issues affecting Chicagoans?

WD: I think crime is obviously something that's affecting us, that has some parts of the city really feeling the pain, with 2,000 shootings and 500-plus murders. With just about every community in the city, if there's even the perception of a crime issue—whether an attack or a robbery, or something like what happened to that actor on the Empire series recently—even if it may not be in my specific community, and mine might be relatively safe compared to others, that concern translates throughout the city.We've got to get a handle on that.

We also have to consider the economic health of the city going forward, and the affordability for residents. We have to consider the fees and taxes that are being layered on. There's also school issues, not affecting just taxpayers but kids in school, how we educate the kids in the city. An overhanging question is, can we keep this economic boom going? It's not been as good as in other cities, but you have to have continued growth; attempting to solve other issues without that growth becomes more difficult, because you begin to run out of resources.

WCT: What are the most important issues for LGBT Chicagoans at this point?

WD: Like with every other community here, I think crime—like I said there's obviously a crime issue like you had with that young actor, where's the allegation or belief that he was targeted. We have to be vigilant on that. Things are better in terms of discrimination, but there's a subtleness—at the national level especially, we see too many people being open with their prejudices. Whether it's about race or sexual orientation, we've got to be vigilant as leaders and say, 'That is wrong,' or 'That is illegal.'

Otherwise, there's taxes and education, and seeking out the same opportunities that others are seeking. No matter the community, that is the basis of the work that I'm trying to do.

WCT: What is your position on reproductive freedom?

WD: I've been pro-choice. I know some folks are alleging that, since I was in the White House in a time when they was some debate on that, that I'm not. It's a charge that they make without facts. When I was in the White House, it was my job to make sure that the president was aware of the sides of the issue being discussed. It was not a personal agenda. I was pro-choice. My job was to say what people were and were not advocating. That's what a chief of staff is supposed to do, and Barack Obama was the type of leader who wanted to hear different sides. … There was this buzz, because I had that role and did not want to ram one position down his throat. That's what I did, and the president made the judgement.

WCT: What kind of relationship do you see yourself as having with the City Council?

WD: I will have a very respectful relationship. I understand their role. On the other hand, we're almost a quarter of the way through the 21st Century, and the structure is what it was in the last century. The aldermanic system was set up at a time when all the aldermen were mini-mayors. All city services went through the aldermen. … But they ought to be more of a legislative body, because you have a political system that's been set up that's very different, and I don't think you have to be afraid of change. I will a respectful and direct relationship, and I would expect that they have the same with me. I don't want there to be battles, like there have been in Washington, or in Springfield the last four years. I want to be able to sit down and say, "We have to look at this." That's what I was able to do in both the private and the public sectors.

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