Mayoral candidates share vision at UIC forum
“Chicago’s largest university and the city’s 15th largest employer, UIC is the ideal venue to hold this forum,” said interim chancellor Eric Gislason Friday as he welcomed three Chicago mayoral candidates and a roomful of students, faculty, staff and reporters.
Three of five invited mayoral candidates — Robert Fioretti, William “Dock” Walls and Willie Wilson — attended the forum at the Student Services Building, sponsored by Undergraduate Student Government and the Chicago Center for Working-Class studies. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Jesús “Chuy” García did not attend due to scheduling conflicts.
Robert Bruno, professor and chair of labor and employment relations, moderated the forum.
Candidates responded to questions that ranged from education reform to city spending. Panelists included Rev. Calvin Morris, co-chair of Jobs with Justice Clergy Committee, Steven Ashby, clinical professor of labor and employment relations, and Alden Loury, senior policy analyst for the Better Government Association.
Fioretti, 2nd Ward alderman and a graduate of the Urbana-Champaign campus, stressed education, a strong economy and crime prevention.
Walls, a community activist and former aide to Mayor Harold Washington, discussed programs to help small business owners.
Wilson, a local businessman, said he’s not a politician. “I’m not going to be something I’m not,” he said. “I’m a human being.”
The three candidates were asked: what kind of leader do you think Chicago needs?
“I would be the kind of leader I am today,” said Wilson. “I would consult with all citizens of Chicago before I make a decision.”
“Tough and fair,” Fioretti said, adding the Boy Scout law: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
Walls described himself as a visionary. “I see a Chicago that is robust,” he said. “Where everybody has what they need.”