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Ald. Walter Burnett Endorses Paul Vallas In Mayoral Runoff

Burnett, an ally to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, said Paul Vallas has helped him with important projects in his ward over the years — and fully supports the Chicago casino project.

Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) is endorsing Paul Vallas for mayor.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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WEST LOOP — Longtime Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) is backing Paul Vallas in the mayoral runoff.

The alderman told Block Club he plans on formally backing Vallas at a campaign event Saturday. The endorsement comes after Burnett’s mentor, former Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, endorsed Vallas on Thursday.

Burnett endorsed Mayor Lori Lightfoot going into Election Day, asking Chicagoans to give her a chance to finish what she started. He was with her on Election Day, greeting voters at Moon’s Sandwich Shop on Western Avenue is in his ward.

“I hope she wins because she started a lot of things and there are a lot of things we have to get finished that we started with her,” Burnett told Block Club on Tuesday. “All of us got projects on the line in our wards.”

But the alderman — who was unopposed in his own reelection bid — hinted that he would be comfortable if Vallas ended up in the Mayor’s Office.

“People are looking at his association with the [Fraternal Order of Police] president, you know, a lot of that stuff don’t feel right to some people,” Burnett said. “I know Paul. I don’t feel like he’s that way, but that’s the perception, you know.

“… I’ll be able to work with anybody who gets elected.”

Lightfoot was knocked out of the race, sending Vallas and county Commissioner Brandon Johnson to the April 4 runoff. And Burnett is officially team Vallas.

Burnett joins alds. Tom Tunney (44th), Brian Hopkins (2nd) and Brendan Reilly (42nd), who have already endorsed Vallas.

Vallas slightly carried Burnett’s 27th Ward on Election Day, getting 25.8 percent of the vote to Lightfoot’s 25.4 percent.

Burnett and Vallas “go back” to Burnett’s early days as alderman, when Vallas was serving as budget committee commissioner for former Mayor Richard Daley, Burnett said.

“He found me money to spruce up Greektown. That was the beginning of the West Loop. Actually, that was the first thing that was built up nice besides putting the planters in, during the Democratic convention. … Paul has been very helpful to me in my ward,” Burnett said.

Burnett also wants Vallas to continue to support the Bally’s casino slated for River West in the 27th Ward, along with other community programs like Invest South/West.

“As far as the casino goes, he says the casino is happening. … As far as the Invest South/West stuff goes, he’s not going to mess with that. He said he’s going to try to do more,” Burnett said.

Burnett said he is “not at all” worried Vallas could be more conservative than other candidates. Vallas had received backlash from progressive critics.

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