Karen Lewis, the president of the Chicago Teachers Union, has been asked in the past many times if she would consider running for mayor of Chicago to replace the current mayor, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as many are indicating discontent with Emanuel’s actions during his first term. Lewis’ response had always been that she’s a teacher and not a politician. In recent days, her response to the mayoral bid has changed, according to a Sun-Times report on Thursday.
Lewis now says that she is sick of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and no one else is stepping forward to challenge him in next year’s mayoral election in the city. Therefore, she is now saying that she is seriously thinking about running against Emanuel in the next mayoral election. However, she denied reported rumors that assert she has met with election lawyers about campaigning for next year’s election. She did, however say that she has spoken with attorneys about Chicago Teachers Union members who are running for office in the city, says WGN.
Lewis has been vocal in her discontent with Mayor Emanuel and how vehement she is about seeing him out of office after his first term. She has had publicly viewed arguments with Emanuel since he took office. In one exchange, Lewis claimed that Emanuel shouted the two-word F-bomb-phrase at her when they met in the mayor’s office in 2011 shortly after he took office. Lewis is labeled as Emanuel’s chief adversary throughout his reign as mayor in the city, according to the report.
To Lewis’ success, she has defeated Emanuel on some issues. Most notably, she sparred with Emanuel over Chicago teachers’ issues which resulted in a teachers’ strike which scarred the mayor. Lewis led the Chicago teachers into a teachers’ strike during Emanuel’s time in office. It was the first such event in Chicago in the past quarter of a century. Most recently, on Thursday, Lewis took Emanuel to task by blaming him for laying off an additionally 1,150 Chicago Public School staffers.
Lewis blatantly said that Mayor Emanuel and his Board continue their war on Chicago educators by doing nothing to salvage school budgets other than forcing principals to terminate valued teachers and staff. Furthermore, she said that this latest decision to reduce staff demonstrates the disdain for public education and the lack of leadership and vision for the city from the mayor and his handpicked school board. She took a swipe at last weekend’s headlines by asking, “Do we want ‘Star Wars’ museums or public, neighborhood schools?” She also asked, “Do we want presidential libraries or librarians for every child?”
As Lewis contemplates running for office, it is known that Emanuel has already raised over $7 million to run for the February 2015 election. Additionally, former alderman Robert Show says he is running. A popular political figure in Chicago, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, still refuses to announce a candidacy for the office of mayor. Last month, a Sun-Times poll showed that only 29 percent of Chicagoans support Emanuel, and only 8 percent of African-Americans support him for reelection.