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Wilson fires back at mayor’s accusation he’s trying to buy election

Dr. Willie Wilson

“She’s lost it”

Mayoral hopeful Dr. Willie Wilson wasn’t shocked when he received a political mailing from Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasting him for loaning his campaign another $1 million and accusing him of trying to buy this election.

Initially, Wilson loaned his campaign $5 million, placing him way ahead of the numerous mayoral candidates, but his latest donation ticked off Mayor Lightfoot.

The mayor copied the August 30, 2022, headline from the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper and turned it into a political mailing. She accused Wilson of trying to buy the mayoral election, a charge he denies.

Lightfoot’s political mailing had this headline:

“Willie Wilson donates another $1M to his mayoral campaign.” It went on to say, “That’s right, Chicago mayoral candidate Willie Wilson is going all-in to try to defeat Lori Lightfoot.

“In fact, on the first day that Mayor Lightfoot was able to circulate a nominating petition, Wilson announced that he is prepared to devote another $3 million to his campaign, which would bring his total to $9 million.

“Well, we’ve got some news for Mr. Wilson: Chicago is not for sale.”

Continuing, the mayor’s mailing stated,

“Look, Mayor Lightfoot isn’t a millionaire businessperson like Willie Wilson. Her campaign is built on grassroots support from people like you. We only have you: an army of supporters who want to see Chicago march forward under Mayor Lightfoot’s leadership.”

Mayor Lightfoot referred to the growing number of mayoral candidates who she said are “coming out of the woodwork,” including Wilson, whom she called a “self-funder.” She then asked her supporters to donate to her campaign.

Lightfoot, who is 60, was referring to mayoral contenders Alderman Raymond Lopez (15th) who is 44 years old, and Wilson, 73 years old. In 2019, Wilson won 13 of the city’s 18 Black wards. Other candidates are Illinois Representative Kam Buckner, 37; Paul Vallas, former CEO of the CPS who is 69; Alderman Roderick Sawyer, 6th Ward, is 59. Ja’Mal Green is 27, and Alderman Sophia King is 56.

Wilson scoffed at Lightfoot’s political mailing and said the mayor should resign “because she is an embarrassment. When she first ran, she raised something like $6 million to $8 million.

“This time she can’t seem to raise any money. I guess she is trying to figure out what to say. My ground game is important,” Wilson said referring to his massive, racially diverse church network.

Wilson said he’s moving ahead and on time with his mayoral campaign and will have about 30,000 to 40,000 petitions by this week. He needs 12,500 but will continue gathering petitions until the November 28, 2022, deadline. Wilson says he’s ready for the February 28, 2023, election and isn’t worried about a potential April 4, 2023, runoff.

What he is sure of is that Mayor Lightfoot “needs to resign to avoid embarrassment. She can’t get along with the aldermen. The police have turned their backs on her. She is not really wanted,” he said referring to the Fraternal Order of Police voting “no confidence” against Lightfoot.

“I endorsed the mayor over (Cook County Board President Toni) Preckwinkle” in 2019, he said.

A flyer from a previous Willie Wison Gas Giveaway
A flyer from a previous Willie Wison Gas Giveaway

He chided her for offering to buy gas and giving out other perks, saying he’s been doing this for the community for more than 40 years.

“I’ve been doing this by taking the money out of my own pocket, while she uses the taxpayers’ dollars for her own re-election purposes. Those are my tax dollars, too,” he said.

“She is trying to buy and save her seat on the backs of taxpayers,” Wilson said. “I think she is out of touch with the community. She would do herself and the community a favor by resigning.”

Wilson said Lightfoot’s record doesn’t look good.

“Crime is a normal thing in Chicago, like 50 or 55 people shot over the weekend. More people are getting killed under her administration than in Vietnam. She’s got some problems. She would do everybody a favor and resign and go back from where she came from because she is unfit for the job.”

Wilson said if elected, he won’t be closing down a business for no apparent reason. “Some of the Muslim communities’ service stations are being shut down if someone gets shot there. She closes them down.

“She has more than 70 police officers protecting her, but she is not protecting the citizens,” Wilson said. “She protects herself but not the citizens. What kind of mayor is that? She’s not Fort Knox.”

If elected Wilson said he would divide the police superintendent’s job into four parts, putting a top cop in four sections of the city. He would also get to the root cause of crime but hold those who break the law accountable.

And, before a student graduates from high school, Wilson said they must have a trade. He has pledged to improve infrastructure both in buildings, bridges and roads but also in human investment, including increasing contracts and jobs for Blacks who he says have been shortchanged for decades.

“One person cannot fix this thing by themselves,” he said.

“I have business experience and she doesn’t. We will get rid of red-light cameras. We have to reduce taxes that are running businesses out of Chicago. We have to make it friendlier for people to stay here. She wants to raise taxes. You ain’t going anywhere running people out of the city.”

Wilson bristles when he thinks of Lightfoot closing the churches during the pandemic.

“She didn’t have the right to do that,” he said.

“It was insane. I would not do that. She closed the churches down but not the marijuana places. She’s lost it. People should have a right to go to worship and if they don’t, that is their business but let them make that decision.”

Referring to the mayor’s giveaways, Wilson said the city didn’t have face masks; so he donated 40 to 60 million face masks. “She never said thank you.”

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