The Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, has formally announced that he will be standing for re-election as protestors demonstrate outside.
Mayor Emanuel will be standing for a second term and has announced his intentions with a speech drawing attention to the success he has already managed to achieve in pushing through minimum wage increases across the city.
During his speech Emanuel did not highlight any specific achievements of his first term but instead focused heavily on the wage increases which were passed only this week and sees minimum wage workers benefiting from a boost in what they will be taking home which will be up to $13 an hour in 2019, up from the current $8.25 an hour.
“Washington wouldn’t do it. Springfield couldn’t do it. But here in Chicago, we did it,” he said.
Rahm Emanuel is a former White House chief of staff under President Barack Obama and he will be hopping that his connection to President Obama will not go against him in the upcoming elections, something which has thwarted many other candidates as the approval rating of the President hits all time lows.
Emanuel will be facing challenges from nine other candidates who are all eager to take his position as Chicago Mayor in the elections which are scheduled to take place on February 24, 2015.
According to Reuters, his first term drew national attention for what became the largest mass public school closing in U.S. history, and scandals involving a traffic ticket programme that an investigation by the Chicago Tribune found was likely rigged to ensnare nearly 80,000 drivers. He has refused to refund $7.7 million the program collected during that period.
While inside the 250 strong audience listened to the speech made by the mayor, outside there were demonstrations with many linking Emanuel as a friend of Wall Street and not the common man, with placards reading “Rich People 4 Rahm”.
“He’s squeezing money from working class families with the red light cameras, the parking fees. We’re not taking this anymore,” said Byron Sigcho, 31, a teacher to Reuters.
But Rahm Emanuel is already trying to counter this belief by stating that he understands the squeeze being place upon the middle classes and acknowledging that he knew that wealth was not being shared equally but that he hoped that the raise in the minimum wage would demonstrate his commitment to helping the poorer members of the city.