Fioretti's becomes first opponent to Rahm Emanuel for Chicago Mayor and Emanuel fires back


Robert Fioretti waves to crowd at end of his presentation

As he announced his run for Chicago Mayor before a crowd of about 150 people in the East-West University gymnasium, 829 S. Wabash Ave., Saturday morning, 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti, identified a series of issues, pointing out Emanuel's short falls. 

"Our current mayor promised much and like many of us I hoped he would deliver," said Fioretti, the Chicago born and raised two-term alderman. "But our schools are being gutted, our streets are not safer and many of us are missing out on economic opportunities and jobs. 

“Four years ago, Rahm Emanuel promised he was going to be tough. People voted for tough, but all we got was, ‘tough luck’!” 

Schools and safety
Fioretti pointed out that 30,000 students, mostly children of color, are without their neighborhood schools since the 50 schools were closed last year. Class sizes should be smaller and kids should feel safe. 

Police Services
The 1,000 extra policemen promised have not been fulfilled either, according to Fioretti. In fact, he says, there are less police on the force now then when Emanuel took office. That means that citizens are less safe. Street violence result in grieving families. 

Fioretti said that job creation must to be achieved across the city. He further proposed that businesses making more than $50 million per year, should be required to raise their minimum wage to $15 per hour, 


Scott Waguespack started the introductions

He also pointed out that 600,000 people come from suburbs to work in the City and use services such as police, fire and infrastructure. They then take $30 billion out of the City, paying taxes and spending money outside the City. 

A 1% tax would bring in $300 million that could be used for fire, police and schools. 

The Event
The event began with 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack, one of the other Progressive Caucus members. Among other comments he said, "It is a great day for Chicago. It's a great day to see people stepping up in a city that so desperately needs leadership." 


Nicki Pecori introduced the newly declared candidate

He then introduced Nicki Pecori, Fioretti's "other half." "I believe in him because of his intelligence, heart and incomparable drive. He treats people with respect, compassion and integrity and brings people together. He listens and, I believe, that he will be a man of common sense which, I believe, the City needs." 

Audience and comments
Linda Mastandrea from the City's far northeast side said that she is a long-time supporter of Fioretti. That support is because "he is a very progressive man with a forward look for the city. And he is the right person for right job now." 

Wendy Bataglia who lives by the United Center and has worked with him in the Ward echoed some of the same opinions. "I think he is forward thinking and that he will promote g


Linda Mastandrea and Wendy Bataglia

rowth in the city. He gets the big picture. He works very well with education and the school system. He is also looking for safety. 

"One of things we've appreciated is that he is a very hands on type of person. When we have issues in our neighborhood he isn't shy about getting on his bicycle. When there were issues with graffiti, he'd come help clean up. He'd ride around in the morning and on the weekends to see how things were going in the Ward. When there is a clean and green event, he is out there working with everyone hand in hand." 


Mignon Thompson

Mignon Thompson, from the far southside said that red lights and parking fee permitting are flagrant and over the top. So she was interested in learning about his position on those issues.  

"He has done a great job since he has been alderman. I want to see him take that to the next level as mayor," said a male constituent. 

Post presentations
Laura Washington, ABC7 Eyewitness News political analyst, that it was "an Impressive kickoff,  well organized. He had all the ingredients in place for Rahm to take him seriously. I think the crowd was very diverse which is important, obviously, and he hit on all of Rahm Emanuel's weaknesses. A lot of enthusiasm here so good kickoff for him." 


Laura Washington

Waguespack said, "I think all of Chicago should be excited that there is going to be competition in this race. Those people who thought that Emanuel was going to accomplish some things have been very disappointed. The way he has operated as a mayor. He hasn't been acting on behalf of the people or on behalf of the city.  

"Bob has a better pulse of the City and has the people of the city on his mind all the time. That's how he operates. I think that Rahm has never been in touch with reality on the ground and what people need." 

Emanuel fires back
Shortly after Fioretti's announcement, a spokesperson for Emanuel's campaign blasted Fioretti, though the words are much less harmful than what was done to Fioretti and the people who live in the new remapped 2nd Ward. The remap created a 2nd Ward that no longer covers most of the area it previously covered on the south side. It covers a geographic foot print that stretches from Streeterville to Wicker Park, with pockets of very diverse constituents. 

The statement reads, "Time and again, Alderman Fioretti has shown no backbone for making tough choices and little respect for Chicago taxpayers' pocketbooks," the statement read. "Chicago can't tax itself out of its problems. Chicago needs, and has, a strong leader who has shown that he is willing to make tough decisions." 

Fioretti's campaign is up and running according to Michael Kolenc, Senior Strategist, Bob Fioretti for Mayor, with an office at 1043 W. Madison.



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