Dear editor,

People believe South Carolina is the first state in the 2024 Presidential Primary. It’s really Illinois, and more specifically, the city of Chicago. Chicago was founded 186 years ago, and we continue to be a political gauge for the rest of the country.

From gun safety, to police oversight, to immigration policy, to educating our children, Chicago is consistently in the daily national news cycle. Now we have a mayoral run-off between two starkly different candidates, Cook County Commissioner, Brandon Johnson (1st-District) and former CPS president/CEO, Paul Vallas. Each candidate represents fundamental issues that our nation has been debating since the United States was founded.

These issue areas have always driven our political discourse. Are you a conservative or are you a liberal? Are you a Republican or a Democrat? Are you right of center or are you left of center? And now, to my disbelief and amazement, that question has been elevated to categorizing two extreme ideologies - are you a fascist or are you a socialist? Frankly, I don’t believe either mayoral candidate is a fascist nor a socialist.

Unfortunately, this question has become synonymous with our American culture war at this moment of history. I don’t believe fiscal policies which invest more in people than in business and property are bad. Nor do I believe policies that prioritize public safety are inherently rooted in institutional racism. These are two very polar approaches to the role of government.

Chicago needs a mayor who can balance both ideological differences while being able to effectively manage constant competing priorities. We need a mayor who understands there is more to the city of Chicago than property and real estate. We need a mayor who loves our residents because he understands and empathizes with us, and most of all, will be willing to invest in all of us. These questions should be our compass in the upcoming April 4, 2023 run-off.

Viewing the Chicago election through this lens, my choice is Brandon Johnson because I know that he is a compassionate leader, who values children and families. His experience as a Cook County Commissioner gives him a solid understanding of managing governmental assets. For those that ask, “Well…how is he going to pay for his economic plan?” He is going to raise taxes on those who can most afford it. There is tremendous wealth in this city, and there is simply nothing wrong with asking those who can most afford it to help better the quality of life for everyone. That’s neither communism nor socialism. That’s equity.

Happy birthday, Chicago. To another 186 years. Cheers!

Warm Regards,

Josef Michael Carr Jr., MBA

State Treasurer - Independent Voters of Illinois - Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO)

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