Local Ald. Sophia King (4th) is officially running for mayor of Chicago.
The chair of the City Council's Progressive Reform Caucus, King is running against incumbent Lori Lightfoot and nine other candidates with a campaign focused on addressing violent crime in the city.
In a campaign launch video released Wednesday morning, King said that violence is not an abstract problem to her.
"I've seen the pain it causes way too many times," she said. "There's no question about it: we have to hold the people who commit violent crimes accountable. And we have to hold our leaders accountable, too."
She said Chicagoans need a safer, stronger city, calling for safety and justice, compassion and accountability, neighborhood revitalization and downtown renewal and investments in education.
"We can build our city and build equity," King said, highlighting her long-standing focus towards Black hiring in fields like construction (as in the Michael Reese redevelopment, which also involved a significant community-engagement process to determine the site's new uses, and public-private partnerships like 4400 Grove) and local police districts.
A release from her campaign notes that while goals for citywide nonwhite contractors aim for 25% of planned developments, the number exceeds 40% on projects King has worked on in the 4th Ward.
"Everything I've ever done has been achieved by bringing people together to find real solutions to problems confronting Chicago," she said. "I'm running for mayor because we need more collaboration, not confrontation."
King, 56, grew up in Evanston and has family in Mississippi. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree in education and social policy from Northwestern University. She founded the Harriet's Daughter's nonprofit that works on employment opportunities in Black neighborhoods and co-founded Ariel Community Academy, 1119 E. 46th St.She was president of the Kenwood Park Advisory Council and vice president of Planned Parenthood of Chicago.
Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed her to the seat in April 2016 when Ald. Will Burns resigned; she won a special election for the position early the next year and reelection by a 2-to-1 margin in 2019.
Her husband is Alan King, a friend of former President Barack Obama and one of the Chosen Few DJs. They have two adult daughters and live in Kenwood.
King's signature accomplishment on the City Council, the increase in the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour, would originally have covered tipped workers; their wages were decreased in a compromise to win Lightfoot's support. While King has voted for the mayor's budgets, she has noted the mayor's often-combative nature and dealings with alderpersons; council meetings have often devolved into screaming matches during Lightfoot's mayoralty.
King's Anjanette Young Ordinance that would legally codify changes to the Chicago Police Department's search warrant and raids policy, co-sponsored by the other Black progressive alderwomen, has gone nowhere under Lightfoot's administration.
She is the third sitting alderperson to announce mayoral candidacy, joined by Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) and Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th). Other challengers include local State Rep. Kam Buckner (D-26th), former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, millionaire businessman Willie Wilson, activist Ja’Mal Green, Chicago police officer Frederick Collins and actor Bradley Laborman.