By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader
Breaking his silence on his political plans, Dr. Willie Wilson announced his plans to run for mayor and said that he is running to clean up the “mess” he says the current mayor has made.
He made his announcement late last week at his luxurious high-rise apartment on East Wacker Drive.
Joining Wilson were Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy and his running mate Ra Joy, and scores of African American and Hispanic ministers including Pastor Ira Acree, chairman of his mayoral exploratory committee, and Pastor Marshall Hatch.
When asked why he wanted to run for mayor again, Wilson, a self-made multi-millionaire born in Gilbert, Louisiana where he picked cotton for 20-cents an hour, painted a gloomy picture of the Chicago he plans to fix.
Commenting that Chicago is “very segregated,” Wilson said, “I believe there is no such thing as the African American race, Latino race, no white race. Ain’t but one race and that is the human race.”
“Chicago needs a lot of help,” Wilson told this reporter, complaining about taxes that are causing many to lose their homes and some to leave the city for less expensive housing options. “You got to pay taxes on your telephone, property taxes…taxes everywhere. The mayor has not been fair to all 77 communities on an equal basis. Crime is high. He’s done a bad job,” Wilson said of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
He criticized Emanuel for closing more than 50 schools, mostly in the Black and brown communities. “As a result of that people dropped out of schools. He has not done anything to help all citizens of Chicago.
“I’ll be the mayor to make the difference in all communities not just one or two communities,” Wilson said. “There are 77 communities in Chicago, and I intend to visit each one” in a quest to shore up enough support to defeat Emanuel, Wilson commented.
Reminded that many say there is no longer the Black/Hispanic coalition that existed when Harold Washington was mayor, Wilson quipped, “There may not be, but as you see tonight, we’re going to bring them back together.”
Wilson said he is in touch with 200 Hispanic churches. “We’ve been invited to go to their churches, and we are going to try to go to every one of them because it is important for me to go to every community to hear what they’ve got to say and make them a part of the coalition.”
Dr. William Foster, Jr., pastor of the Providence Baptist Church, and president of the Baptist General State Convention which presides over more than 500 churches, pledged his support to Dr. Wilson and asked that everyone vote and support Wilson and Kennedy.
Joy, who is running for lieutenant governor thanked Wilson for his benevolence to people who were on the verge of losing their homes due to high taxes, and those in jail for non-violent offenses who could not post their bails. Wilson paid those bails and led a fight to get a state bill passed where those committing non-violent crimes would not have to stay in jail because of a lack of bail funds.
When Wilson introduced Kennedy he said, “I am supporting him 100 percent, and I ask all of you to consider” doing the same.
Kennedy praised Wilson saying, “I have seen in his life the bible come to life. I see he clothed the naked, fed the hungry, cared for the prisoners and brought our community together. That is what our bible demands of us and that is the example of his life.”
Wilson said he intends on becoming Chicago’s next mayor. He asked for everyone to vote early.