LINCOLN SQUARE — Ald. Matt Martin (47th) has endorsed county Commissioner Brandon Johnson in the 2023 mayoral race.
The alderman, who represents parts of Ravenswood, North Center and Lincoln Square, announced his support of Johnson in a series of tweets last week.
Martin said he believes Johnson’s progressive policies on issues like public safety, affordable housing and the environment — combined with his grassroots organizing — mean he has opened a “clear path to win” in a “crowded and complicated” field of of nine mayoral candidates.
“A lot of people are still making up their minds right now. And I thought it was important to get off the sidelines and share what I think will be critical for city government, city leadership, to focus on in the coming years,” Martin told Block Club.
Martin was elected to City Council in 2019 and is unopposed for his second term.
After speaking to mayoral candidates and reviewing their platforms, Martin feels confident Johnson is best positioned at addressing the city’s various “critical issues” by collaborating with city, state and national leaders, he said.
“You need to build bridges all across the city so that everyone feels supported in facing these challenges together,” Martin said. “… Because these are challenges — especially the city’s finances, issues around transportation and housing — that the city is not going to solve by itself. We need real partners in other levels of government.”
Mayoral challengers have criticized incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s leadership style during her first term as “combative.” As part of Block Club’s interview series with the mayoral candidates, Lightfoot rejected that characterization and touted her administration’s commitment to ending aldermanic prerogative, closing the budget deficit, landing Chicago’s first casino, shepherding the city through the pandemic and investing on the South and West sides.
Martin said he’s “acutely aware” the city’s problems can’t be solved by someone “unilaterally, tackling these challenges head on.”
Martin also cited Johnson’s support for the Bring Chicago Home proposal as a reason he backs Johnson’s bid for mayor.
The ordinance aims to hike the city’s real transfer taxes on sales of properties worth $1 million or more to fund homelessness services. Organizers had hoped to add a referendum question to the Feb. 28 election, but the effort stalled after Lightfoot spoke out against it and 25 City Council ditched a meeting to consider the legislation in November.
Lightfoot initially supported a transfer tax hike and even pushed for the plan at the state level in 2020, but she has opposed the effort after struggling to win support from state lawmakers and receiving federal pandemic funding to combat the issue, WTTW reported.
Bring Chicago Home “would be the sort of permanent source of funding to house individuals who are experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness in a way that I think is a moral imperative right now,” Martin said. “It’s the right thing to do. But it’s also going to save the city a lot of money over the long term.”
Martin joins a slew of alderpeople who have backed one of Lightfoot’s challengers.
Neighboring Northwest Side Ald. Rossana Rodríguez-Sanchez (33rd) also has backed Johnson as have Alds. Daniel La Spata (1st), Pat Dowell (3rd), Jeanette Taylor (20th), Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), according to NBC5.
Election Day is Feb. 28. If no candidate receives at least 50 percent of the vote, the top two finishers will go to a runoff April 4.
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