Bailey softens rhetoric on Chicago, remains critical of leadership in op-Ed


Calls Chicago a ‘city in crisis,’ blaming city and state leaders

CHICAGO — GOP candidate for governor Daren Bailey, with Chicago on his mind, penned a blistering OpEd in the Tribune this weekend. 

The State Senator calls Chicago a city in crisis. The problem, he says, is not a lack of resources but a lack of accountability. Bailey cites the performance of Chicago Public Schools: “Without a solid education foundation, many of these kids fall prey to the temptations of gangs, drugs and violence.”

Bailey blames Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx for crime. He writes: “Regarding violence, last year was the deadliest in Chicago in 25 years, and the city this year is on a pace for more than 600 homicides…This turmoil is made worse by rising crime and officers leaving the force due to extreme policies and work conditions pushed by Pritzker, Lightfoot and Foxx. 
Bailey’s solutions: school choice, support for police, enforcement of existing laws, and reducing the size of city government.” 

Addressing media on Monday, Lightfoot struck back. 

“I actually read it and I was surprised how completely uninformed he is about our city,” the mayor said. “The fact that he doesn’t know our city has the strongest economy in the country, not just in the state. The fact that he doesn’t know that we’ve had so many major businesses relocate to Chicago over the last two years. The fact that he doesn’t know that our homicides are down almost 16%.”

When Bailey arrived in Springfield, he backed a fringe movement to separate Chicago from the rest of Illinois. During his campaign for governor, The Republican focused on Chicago.

“Let’s think about Chicago, a crime-ridden corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole,” Bailey said amid a gubernatorial debate.

Now, in general election mode, the candidate has softened his rhetoric, calling Chicago a great place. 
But State Senator Robert Peters, a strong supporter of Governor Pritzker, says there’s only one candidate serious about helping Chicago.  

“I think this is a person who lives in a right-wing fantasy about what’s happening in the world,” Peters said. “The thing about Governor Pritzker is he’s turned around the state. We’ve seen multiple credit rating increases, a large capital bill to make sure that our infrastructure gets the funding that it needs, an elected school board so that we have more democracy in the Chicago education system, hundreds of millions of dollars in violence prevention monies.”

The day after he won the GOP primary Bailey told WGN News he would reach out to Mayor Lightfoot for a sit-down about helping Chicago. However, as of Aug. 1, the mayor says she’s not heard from Bailey.

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