Chicago Ald. Tom Tunney, retiring from his post in the 44th ward at the conclusion of his term, has endorsed former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas in the 2023 mayoral election.
Tunney, who was selected as the city’s vice mayor by current Mayor Lori Lightfoot in 2019, is now backing Vallas as he looks to unseat the first-term city leader.
“(I) urge all Chicagoans who care about public safety, public education and public finances to join me,” Tunney said in a statement. “As a person who is socially progressive and fiscally responsible, the platform that Paul Vallas has for Chicago most closely aligns with what I believe, both as a member of the City Council for two decades and as a small business owner for 40 years.”
Tunney was appointed to the Chicago City Council in Dec. 2002, and won election to the 44th ward seat in Feb. 2003.
He had contemplated the idea of running for mayor in 2011, an election that Rahm Emanuel won in convincing fashion, and again in 2023, ultimately opting not to run and to instead retire from the City Council at the conclusion of his term.
Vallas, who has recently shown strong polling numbers and picked up endorsements from the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police and other groups, praised Tunney as an “experienced and respected” public servant to the city.
“I’m running for mayor to put crime reduction and public safety first, and we will only be able to accomplish that with a true coalition of leaders across our city from every community who share our vision for a safer, better Chicago,” he said. “There is no one I would rather work with to implement that plan and build that team than Tom Tunney.”
Tunney emphasized Vallas’ desire to build coalitions in is statement supporting the candidate, hinting at criticisms that Lightfoot’s leadership style fails to build consensus within city government.
“Paul is the candidate who understands he can’t do all that needs to be done alone,” he said. “I am confident that he will surround himself with the best people to advise and guide him through the next four years, and I’m proud to support him.”
Tunney was one of several Chicago alderpersons to be included on Lightfoot’s leadership team, with the mayor selecting him as vice-mayor of the city. Ald. Brendan Reilly, formerly vice-mayor under Rahm Emanuel, was named President Pro Tempore of the City Council, while Ald. Gilbert Villegas was Lightfoot’s floor leader.