Chicago has spoken: Brandon Johnson election ushers in new day for Chicago

Chicago voters support Johnson’s bold vision for a better, safer, stronger city and reject the failed policies of the past that have left working class communities behind.

CHICAGO—What started with a movement in 2012 for better school conditions has blossomed into a city-wide, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-generational people-powered movement that has done the impossible: elect a middle school teacher, public school parent and son of a pastor, Brandon Johnson, mayor of Chicago.

As of 9:35 p.m. Tuesday, election results showed Chicago voters embraced Johnson’s bold vision for a better, safer, stronger Chicago and rejected Vallas’ right-wing, cynical law and order platform.

“Today, Chicago has spoken,” CTU President Stacy Davis Gates said. “Chicago has said yes to hope; yes to investment in people; yes to housing the unhoused, and yes to supporting young people with fully-funded schools. It is a new day in our city.”

A protege of CTU President Emerita Karen Lewis, Johnson’s campaign was nurtured and supported by the progressive movement Lewis helped build during her tenure at the union. That movement has built power in every corner of Chicago by focusing on the needs of working families, the community and the most vulnerable.

“You don’t have a Brandon Johnson without a Karen Lewis,” Davis Gates said. “She transformed the political debate in our city. She showed Chicagoans how to stand up and demand what their schools and their city need and deserve. Tonight affirms Karen’s dream of a city that works for us all, not just a privileged few.”

For more than a decade, educators, students, parents, and community members across the city have been laser-focused on ensuring that Chicago works for every resident, no matter their zip code, color, or immigration status, and Tuesday’s election results clearly show those efforts have resonated with Chicagoans across the city.

Johnson has been a part of the movement Lewis helped build since his time as a middle school teacher at Jenner Elementary School in the Cabrini Green neighborhood. As an educator and labor organizer, he has stood alongside workers, parents and educators striving to improve our city for all residents.

The CTU’s House of Delegates, its democratically elected governing body, voted nearly unanimously in October to endorse and support Johnson’s mayoral campaign in an effort to reverse decades of failed policies by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her predecessors, whose neighborhood disinvestments and broken promises have hurt educators, their students and the schools they serve. Ultimately, the CTU has organized hundreds of volunteers to make phone calls, send text messages, and knock on over half-a-million doors.

At the time, Johnson was polling at just 2 percent and relatively unknown beyond the First District he represented on the Cook County Board and the labor and organizing circles from which he had risen. But his bold platform for change fueled his campaign in every corner of the city, presenting Chicagoans with the most straightforward choice of vision in any contest since the election of Harold Washington 40 years ago.

Like the movement that advanced Washington, this movement was built on the hopes and desires of Black and Brown communities that have been ignored and faced disinvestment for decades.

The Chicago Teachers Union represents more than 25,000 teachers and educational support personnel working in Chicago Public Schools, and by extension, the nearly 400,000 students and families they serve. The CTU is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and is the third-largest teachers local in the United States. For more information please visit the CTU website at