This is the full transcript of Mayor Emanuel's speech prepared by The Economic Club of Chicago. It includes the introductory remarks by the club's president, John Canning, and after the speech, the questions and answers session. We reproduce it here in its entirety just in case the ECC decides to remove (or edit) from its website. This document can be found at http://www.econclubchi.org/Documents/Meeting/2502838f-fb9b-4962-9f3f-690906b18f3b.pdf. In the next post we will reproduce the prepared remarks of the Mayor.
The Economic Club of Chicago
Second Dinner Meeting of the 2011-2012 Program Year
December 12, 2011 – The Honorable Rahm Emanuel – Mayor, City of Chicago
JOHN CANNING: Tonight we are honored to welcome my close, personal friend,
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It was just seven months ago that Rahm was sworn in as
Mayor. So let me briefly review some history.
Rahm was born in Chicago and raised in Wilmette. His mother was a Civil
Rights Activist who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the ‘60s. His father was a
pediatrician who was a medic in the 1948 Arab Israeli War. The second of three sons,
Rahm was offered a scholarship to study with Chicago’s Geoffrey Ballet but instead
chose to attend Sara Lawrence College. After graduating he went on to earn a Masters
Degree in social communications at Northwestern University. And while there he
actually pioneered the concept that every speech could be improved with four letter
In 1989, he was the chief fundraiser for Richard Daley successor mayoral
campaign where he had garnered the attention of Bill Clinton’s campaign which promptly
hired him. Rahm then raised a record amount of money for Clinton keeping his
presidential campaign afloat during rocky days during the primaries. After Clinton took
office, Rahm rose to become the President’s Chief Political Advisor and he scored many
victories during his first White House Tour including securing the North American
Treaty, the North American Free Trade Agreement Passage. Rahm left the Clinton
Administration in 1998 to return to Chicago embarking on a successful three year stent as
an investment banker. As a result, Rahm you left the 99% and joined the 1%. Welcome
aboard! Good to have you.
In 2002 he was elected to Congress on his first attempt representing Chicago’s
north side. Three years later he took over the Democratic Congressional Campaign
Committee engineering the party’s takeover of the House of Representatives in 2006. So
a lot happier day for Rahm than for me. By the time President Obama asked him to
become Chief of Staff in 2009, Rahm was Democratic Caucus Chair making him fourth
in the House leadership.
President Obama took over during a very tumultuous time for our country. In the
midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, with two costly and
unpopular wars, despite these imposing challenges, Rahm accepted the President’s call to
be White House Chief of Staff. And he proved to be a Presidential gatekeeper as well as
an efficient policy maker. He led the charge on Capitol Hill to win approval for funding
for the troubled Asset Relief Program, the Recovery Act and the Healthcare Reform Law.
In 2010 he left the Cabinet to announce his run for Mayor of Chicago. And on
February 22nd he won 55% of the vote in a six candidate race. He took the reigns during
a historically difficult time for all cities and Chicago was no exception. The city had a
budget shortfall topping 650 million dollars not including the hundreds of millions of
dollars in under funded pensions. Or the 700 million dollar deficit in the CPS budget.
Additionally, he put more police officers on the streets in high crime
neighborhoods fulfilling his campaign to add 1,000 officers to the streets. On his first
day he lobbed off 75 million dollars from the City budget and he has been equally active
in Springfield before even taking office he successful lobbied the State Legislature to
pass a landmark education package that allows school districts more freedom to fire bad
teachers. Makes it harder for teachers to strike and finally gives (applause) and even as
important finally gives students a full day of, a full school day.
Job creation has also been at the top of his list. During his seven months in office,
the Mayor has brought ten thousand new jobs to the City from some of the best
companies in America including Motorola, JP Morgan, Walgreens, GE Capital, United
Airlines and most recently Sara Lee. He has articulated a simple formula to insure that
Chicago remains a world class city, safe streets, strong schools, stable finances. His first
budget as Mayor passed the City Counsel unanimously. However, the budget process
was not a one man operation. Citizens were invited to join the conversation. Mayor
Emanuel held two budget town halls over the summer. And for the first time in
Chicago’s history the Mayor created a website to serve as on online forum for discussion
between lawmakers and taxpayers. He also brought ethics reform and transparency to
City Hall. Right after he finished his inaugural speech in Millennium Park he went
straight to his office on the 5th floor of City Hall sat down at his desk and signed six
executive orders. He shut the revolving door between lobbyists and city government.
And banned lobbyists from contributing to political campaigns. And he persuaded the
City Council to pass his own ethics, its own ethics ordinance barring former members
who have been convicted of a felony from stepping on the council floor or in its back
It also needs to be said that for as much as he is known for his hard charging, take
no prisoners style, Mayor Emanuel is equally gracious and sensitive. Rahm eats, sleeps
and breathes Chicago. It’s in his bones and in his blood, which I imagine pumps at a
fairly rapid rate.
After his wife Amy and their three children Chicago tops a short but distinguished
list of things Rahm loves. Please help me welcome the new Mayor of Chicago Rahm
MAYOR EMANUEL: Thank you very much John. It’s been noted, your election
which was unanimous. I haven’t seen that since my budget passed, so congratulations on
I was listening to that introduction. I want you to know that I started this job 6’3
and 250 pounds and this is what I got left. And that’s dripping wet.
I want to congratulate you, now you have two organizations to run John, The
Chicago Economic Club and Republicans for Rahm. And in all honesty John, I want you
to make sure you get your priorities right, okay. I’m counting on you.
John has become a leader of an organization that has helped Chicago make the
most of the challenges over the last 80 years. But tonight is unique in the Economic
Club’s history. Yes we have executives from all types of industry. Many of you helped
turn Chicago into the world class city it is today. But I also want to single out the young
leaders that are with you today. The future that are sitting beside you.
In this room are the teachers, the doctors, the lawyers, the ministers, the
executives who’ll shape Chicago in the years to come. And believe me that future is not
too far away. It seems like just five minutes ago I was Senator Simon’s Finance Director
when he was running for Senate. And late the honor of working for Mayor Daley. Back
then I was brash, profane, competitive, very young. Now I’m brash, profane and
competitive and not very young. But I don’t want the young people here to get the wrong
idea. Those aren’t the qualities you need to be Mayor. Those are just the qualities you
need to survive as brother Emanuel with older and younger brother.
When I was growing up I got to be honest, my brothers never thought I would be
here tonight addressing the Economic Club of Chicago. And when you were listening to
John, and I was starting out in politics, I don’t think the members of the Economic Club
thought I would be addressing you as Mayor.
So the Economic Club has had Prime Minister Tony Blair, President Jimmy
Carter, CEO Jack Welch. After World War II you had Omar Bradley here. And what
made that speech remarkable is Omar Bradley did not talk about the victory of World
War II, but he talked about the challenges ahead for the battlefield. And that what
worked for us in World War II would not work for us in the future. And he saw the
future when he spoke from this podium.
In 1950’s the Economic Club of Chicago hosted a young senator from
Massachusetts, John Kennedy. Later to become President and in that speech, John
Kennedy talked about the importance of aligning America with a merging nations and
their markets. In the 1950’s he could see over the horizon into the 21st Century and see
the country that were to become and the economy that we were to become by merging
with a merging nations and their economies.
General Bradley, President Kennedy made the most of their time by discussing
the dangers and the opportunities ahead. And we too have an opportunity tonight, not to
dwell on our city’s past, but to look to the future and to build a strong Chicago of
tomorrow. Nobody respects leaders in this room more than I do. So I’m going to pay
you the ultimate compliment of candor and honesty. I’m here to talk about what we must
do to rebuild and reimagine our education system. We have the best kids in the world,
but when they emerge from our system, whether from our high schools or our community
colleges, they lag far behind their peers. Both in this country and around the world. We
are not providing them an education that allows them to reach their full potential. That I
know is a concern to all of us who care about Chicago’s children and Chicago’s future.
And whether we are from the north side, south side, the west side or downtown, we are
one Chicago with one future. The task is enormous, but the equation is simple, the future
of Chicago hinges on the future of its school system. That is the equation that drives me
every day. We all know this, education is the great equalizer. If provide people an
education, a city and a country can succeed.
I know I’m not the first politician or public servant to point that out. Or to say
that changes in education are essential and urgently needed. Some elected officials have
said that early childhood is the key, and they are right. Others have stressed strong high
schools, math and science education and they are right. But when it comes to investing in
education, it can’t be multiple choice, it must be all the above. From the cradle to the
career, from kindergarten to college, that is where we must invest our resources and our
When you look at the education debate of the last 30 years, there has been a great
deal of focus on the early years, the high school years, our four-year institutions. What
has not been in focus is on what has been the creation of the GI bills and that is our
community colleges. Despite the fact that our community colleges are where a majority
of the students go for their post secondary education and training. By overlooking these
critical training centers, we are missing an important opportunity and our economy today
is now showing the strains of these years of neglect.
When employers cannot find skilled workers during one of the deepest recessions
in American history that should tell us something. We have a tool in our arsenal and we
are not doing all that it can do. And it is sitting on the sidelines. It must be modernized
for the new economy. Our community colleges were a lynchpin for America’s post war
boom and they are just as critical today. They are as important to our economic growth
and potential as a city as any other part of our educational system. Modernizing them is
how we will continue to attract the industries and make the most of our strengths.
I want you to think about this for just one minute. There are more students in our
city colleges, 127,000 than in all of Chicago’s four year institutions combined, 127,000.
Now don’t get me wrong, Chicago and the State of Illinois have great higher ed
institutions. We know them, Northwestern, University of Chicago, University of Illinois,
DePaul, Columbia, Loyola, Roosevelt, UIC. We have two of the top five business
schools in the country, Booth and Kellogg. We have great law schools. In technology
we have IIT, Ferme, Argon, U of I. Chicago is also the destination of choice for the big
ten states and big ten institutions. Be they at Madison, Ann Arbor, Columbus, Iowa City,
South Bend, Minneapolis and St. Paul. We have overlooked in the, we have overlooked
in the development of our work force is the preparation of our own children. We have
not developed the educational system that helps our economy grow. We can no longer
allow the practices of the past to sabotage our hopes for the future.
When I talk to CEO’s I hear a regular message from them about their force and
the skills they need. Whether it’s Pat Woertz at ADM, Glen Tilton at United, Glen
Tullman at All Scripts, Randall Stephenson at AT&T, Jamie Dimon at JP Morgan or
(inaudible) at Citibank. Or some of your actually in this room as well. You all tell me the
same thing, from welders to code writers, to workers in healthcare, IT services, you need
more skilled employees. We need skilled workers to rebuild our infrastructure. We need
them to care for the sick. We need them to welcome the millions who visit Chicago each
year in our hospitality industry. We need them to make the products people want to buy
and to write the code that powers the knowledge economy. But employers can’t find
skilled workers and workers can’t find jobs. Like the rest of the country, Chicago has a
skills gap. And we can’t say we haven’t been warned.
I want to give you a set of headlines literally just from the last four weeks. From
the Wall Street Journal, November 16th and I quote, “study finds US workers under
pressure to improve skills but needs more support.” In the Wall Street Journal on
November 25th in an unexpected twist some skilled jobs go begging. I just did that to
prove to you that I read the Wall Street Journal. Thank you for the 1% pause there.
From Crain’s on December 2nd in an article titled Closing the Tech Gap, “more
than 60% of the small businesses are struggling to find skilled applicants.” From the
Chicago Tribune one week ago today on the cover of its Business page, “jobs go unfilled
as skills fall flat.” But I don’t need to read about the skills gap from the Wall Street
Journal, the Tribune or Crain’s. I see it and hear it every day from the people of the City
Now I was on the L six weeks ago, right across from the Cell at 35th and Dan
Ryan. I met a young man. He had just left Wright Community College taking the el on
his way to his job south side at Target warehouse. That young man is doing everything
right. Everything we could ever ask him to do. He’s holding a full-time job and he’s
going to school and he’s trying to get his skills right. And when he graduates that
diploma should have economic value for him. And we cannot honestly look at ourselves
and say given he has taken responsibility we’re giving him everything he needs to do for
his opportunity. So when he graduates like the rest of us ourselves, when he puts
whatever school it is Wright, Truman, Kennedy King, Olive Harvey it should have value
to him and meaning to us as future employers. And that just doesn’t work today. And
that is the responsibility of everybody in this room to change.
And I cannot in good conscience when he walks in to interview says that Harold
Washington, Malcolm X or any of the schools on his resume that his work should pay
off. It should pay off for him. And if we work together starting tonight, it will. Because
that young man looking for opportunity and the CEO and the corporate suite looking for
skilled workers are looking for the same thing. They’re looking for each other.
The community college is the link in our, for our employees and our employers
need that has been missing in action. Companies need workers to make products, to
design products. To wire the products, to move the products, to sell the products. And
community colleges can provide them those workers.
As Mayor I can’t read the headlines about the skill gap and I can’t see it every day
and say that’s not my problem. It is my problem because I think it’s unconscionable that
you can have 10% unemployment and about 100,000 job opening in the Chicagoland area
and we can’t do anything about it. Those two facts do not go together in one of the worst
recession’s in our country’s history. 100,000 opening and 10% unemployment. And the
answer is right under our nose and it’s the community college system. And let’s be
candid, most community colleges offer students what they should’ve learned in high
school. Too often they provide remedial learning to compensate for gaps in their
education system of past. That is not why our community college system was
established. The community colleges historically were the catapult for the World War II
generations coming home from the battlefield. The generation of Americans who
became the most productive and economically expansive in American history. And the
community colleges can serve the same function as the 21st century. At the beginning of
the 20th century a high school education was essential for the industrial economy. At the
beginning of the 21st century, two years of quality, post secondary education are equally
That’s especially true here in Chicago when you look at our engines of economic
growth. Transportation and logistics. Healthcare sciences, IT and computer sciences,
convention and tourism. Professional services and high end manufacturing. We need our
community colleges linked up to those growth sectors and do that, and if we do that, we
need our industry leaders linked up to the schools. Because of our central location, we
are a transportation and logistics juggernaut. But we cannot rest on our location alone.
And the question is will we train the workers we need to capitalize on that advantage.
Because of our private sector industries that are the leaders in healthcare sciences, like
Abbott Labs, Walgreens, Baxter’s, All Scripts and our hospitals like Rush, Stroger,
Northwestern, University of Chicago merge. We are becoming a global healthcare hub.
The question is, will we train for it?
Because of McCormick Place and O’Hare we continue to be a world leader in
tourism in the convention industry. The question is will we train for it? Because of
Navistar or Ford, Mattel Steel, we serve as a natural center for high end manufacturing.
The question is, will we train for it? Because of Motorola solutions, Molex and Groupon,
we could be the nation’s next hot spot for technology and innovation the question is will
we train for it? Because we are home to great global businesses like AON, Boeing and
United and we are home to some of the great law firms, great consulting firms like
Accenture. Great accounting firms like Ernst & Young, we are professional service hub
for the larger Midwest. The question is, will we train for it? Because we’re about to
launch the largest infrastructure project in any investment for any city in the country, not
just for our water but for our roads and soon for our mass transit, we will need strong
partnership with labor. We will need workers in skilled trades. The question is, will we
train for it? And tonight here in this room, we answer that fundamental question, don’t
worry it’s not a take home exam. Tonight we charge our community colleges with a new
mission, to train the work force of today for the jobs of tomorrow. To give our students
the ability to achieve a middle class standard of living to provide our companies with the
skilled workers they need.
City’s like Miami and Louisville have tried something similar but in a single
industry. Miami matched the community college with healthcare sciences. Louisville
has linked the community college with UPS to be a leader in logistics. But this is
Chicago, we do things bigger, bolder, more ambitious and more comprehensive.
Something to match the diversity and the depth of our economy which is one of our
So tonight I’m announcing that we’ll take six of our community colleges to train
students in specific growth sectors where we know we could dominate the future. We are
announcing the first two schools and their partners tonight. Malcolm X College will be
the school that drives Chicago’s leadership in healthcare sciences. Rush Medical Center,
Stroger and Northwestern Hospitals, Advocate healthcare, Baxter, Walgreens and All
Scripts have agreed to partner with Malcolm X College to develop their curriculum and
train their faculty so the workers that will drive our healthcare sciences will be trained
for the future jobs.
Olive Harvey, Olive Harvey will be the center for excellence in transportation,
distribution and logistics. They will work with UPS, Canadian National Railway, AAR,
BNSF among others. They will be Olive Harvey’s partner in modernizing their programs
and providing the training students needs to compete in the transportation, distribution
and logistics field.
As Mayor of Chicago, I cannot protect our City from either a global or a national
recession. But I can address the skills gap so that no employer in the middle of a deep
recession is without employees they need. And so that no worker is out with the skills
they need to find a job. We have a dynamic new chancellor of our community colleges,
Cheryl Hyman and I’ve appointed each of the six new city college presidents to oversee
this modernization. But this reinvention and the investments required to make our school
system world class is something that all of us must be a part of.
Reinvention is nothing new for the City of Chicago. Chicago went from a remote
trading post to a center of global industry. From the cinders of the great fire our City has
become a showcase of worldwide architectural fame. Chicago did not reinvent itself by
itself. Our growth was forged by those who were willing to make tough choices and the
right investments. By people who were not afraid to see the future with all its challenges
and to see the opportunities in those challenges.
Today all of us in this room must be those people as well. And tonight I ask you
to be a partner in the transformation of our community colleges. Every year for the next
three years we will modernize two schools and match them with partners in the private
sector. To train the workers for our factories, for our offices, for our hospitals, for our
hotel industry and for our infrastructure and for the computer science field. In the same
way that you help, Booth and Kellogg prepare their graduates for careers in management
and finances which is appropriate. We need to partner with the community colleges so
that their curriculums meet the sectors needs that power the Chicago economy.
I’m not talking about hiring a person or even a partnership or an internship. It’s
deeper and more fundamental than that. This is about insuring that the curriculum taught
at the community colleges provides the skills you need at your work place or your place
of employment. By making a diploma from our community colleges into a ticket for the
work force of tomorrow, we will make them the first option of job training not the last. I
do not expect you to do this alone. Our community colleges and the leaders will be right
there with you. And whatever you invest in our schools, you’ll get back many times over
because of the skilled employees who have the training to work in your operations.
There’s no greater investment we can make in the life of our City than the one we make
in the lives of our students. And I can tell you that personally there’s no greater reward.
Meeting young people on the campaign trail or in my visits to schools as Mayor,
that’s something I see every day. Every day our students wake up optimistic about their
future. They believe they can achieve great things. And many of them do, even against
great odds. If our students have the strength to turn obstacles into opportunities, surely as
adults we do too. Some say that comprehensive investments and all levels of education
in our communities is impossible. Today’s fiscal challenges make it more difficult.
Yes, we have to set priorities. And yes we have to make tough choices and that’s
what we’re doing tonight. But to those who say that we can’t afford to confront these
challenges, I say we can’t afford not to. And let me tell you something, we’re already
doing the changes at our K thru 12. This year alone four new charter schools have
opened serving 2,000 more students. Five more will come online next year. 23,000 more
kids this year are attending magnet schools of excellence. 6,000 more kids are getting a
full day of pre-K kindergarten. And this year at my subtle urging, 13 Chicago Public
Schools are offering a full school day.
An additional 36 charter schools serving 17,000 students citywide will join them
and transition to a full day of school. We’ve begun the largest turnaround of our
neighborhood schools. Next year ten schools will be staffed with all new principals, all
new teachers, all graduates of the AUSL Program which is a proven record of success in
And nothing makes me prouder than this last fact. Beginning next year every
child in the Chicago Public School will get an additional 250 hours of instructional time
in math, science, reading, geography and history equal to the kids around the world.
Every one of our children in Chicago 55 more hours of math, 55 more hours of reading,
55 more hours of writing than they had the year before. That’s doubling down on
Chicago’s children and they deserve an equal education.
But longer hours, a full day of school and a full school year doesn’t do it all.
Because you cannot do it unless you invest in the three things that matter year in and year
out to everybody in this room because that’s how we got here. A principal that’s going to
need to be accountable. A teacher that’s motivated to teach. And a parent that is fully
engaged. You put those three (inaudible) together and I’ll give you a kid that’s ready to
go to school and ready to learn and who will be a success in life. It’s what has got us all
in this room here to join as John Canning noted the 1%. And the kids of the City of
Chicago deserve no less. They’re our kids. They’re our future. This is our City.
When it comes to modernizing our public education system and our community
colleges, I will not take no for an answer. Any business that stands pat while the world
changes is a business that’s doomed to failure. Our City has no more important business
than the education of its children. Change is always difficult, the status quo is always
more comfortable. And I want to tell you in seven months on this job, I learned that
people hate the status quo and they’re not too excited about change either. Got them
right where I want them. But when the status quo is failing, change is inevitable. We can
resolve to help shape the future or allow ourselves to be shaped by it. And the people in
this room are leaders not followers.
I’m not just talking about the members of the Economic Club. I’m talking about
the young people who have joined us tonight. This is the future of Chicago. For the kids
in this room and the students who aren’t here, but throughout the City of Chicago, we
must resolve to do everything we can to make sure they are successful. I firmly believe
we can overcome any obstacle if we’re willing to confront our challenges with vision and
with determination. That’s why I ran for the job of Mayor.
In the past months, we have started the fight for change. And with your help we
will continue it. We can insure that the future of our City and every student will be
unlimited. We can be sure that our children and grandchildren can be as proud to call
Chicago home as we are today.
I want to thank you. God bless you. Wish you a happy and healthy New Year
and God bless the children of Chicago.
JOHN: Thank you Rahm. That was spectacular.
MAYOR EMANUEL: Thank you.
JOHN: And I think your plan is designed to make the 1%, 2 or 3% you know it’s lonely
at 1%. If you’re successful it’ll go up to 5% so that’s great.
MAYOR EMANUEL: I think John let’s be honest, I think the 1% are trying to
figure out how I got there.
JOHN: Yeah but we love you being aboard. I convened –
MAYOR EMANUEL: Nothing is ever spoken more from the heart from John than
JOHN: I convened the Republicans for Rahm to drop some questions. You know there’s
quite a few of them. So we have a lot of questions.
So let me, sticking on the education theme, in your inaugural address in May you
put special emphasis on the tragic gun deaths of children. How does the full school day
interface with yours and Superintendent McCarthy’s efforts to keep our streets safe and
our children safe?
MAYOR EMANUEL: Well first of all, a couple things. One I did the full school
day not for safety, although there’s an additional benefit there. I did it because we have
the shortest school day and the shortest school year. Nobody here got out of school at
2:00 o’clock or 2:15 unless you were ditching. Nobody! And our kids are out at 2:00
o’clock or 2:15. We got there till 3:30 and then we figured out our afterschool activity
and everything else. Our kids deserve a full day and a full year as many hours I just
talked about. That’s number one.
Number two, about three quarters, two thirds of all juvenile crime and victims of
crime by juveniles. A curb between the hours of 3:00 and 6:00. Why? Mom, mom and
dad or grandma are out working. Kids are out of school. A full day complimented by a
comprehensive afterschool program keeps our kids learning. Now you can put them in
an adult supervised activity, doing athletics, academics or arts. Whatever the self-image,
self-awareness needs. Whatever it is. But a full day at school with adults committed
ready to learn plus afterschool and we’re going to have a very, very rich school, City.
JOHN: Chicago will host the NATO and G8 Summits this May. And Chicago will be the
only city to have hosted those Summits since London in the 1970’s. What is your
Administration doing to prepare for such a major event? And how will those preparation
affect Chicago’s economy?
MAYOR EMANUEL: Well first of all thank you, I think this is a unique
opportunity for the City. It’s a, an event in which literally close to 3,000 to 4,000
reporters worldwide will be coming to the City of Chicago. Almost equal like the
Second we’ll have 45 world leaders, finance ministers, defense ministers, foreign
ministers. London as you noted hadn’t had it since 1977. It’s the type of world class,
world class attention that a City that’s with a international economic footprint and an
economic model based on international sales and marketing would crave for. We’re
preparing for it the proper way and getting ourselves organized. As you know Lori
Healey’s here. We’re working on that day in and day out, those people at the Police
Department, OEM, and all the other functions. But this is a unique opportunity and the
same way that the Olympics were for the City to present itself to the world.
Every finance member of the G8 and the 6 attending nations will be here. Every
member of the G8 heads of state plus the six additional countries from emerging markets
will be here. Every member of NATO, 28 heads of state, foreign ministers, defense
ministers will be here. Every member of ISAF not full members of NATO but partnering
countries, heads of state, defense ministers, foreign ministers will be here. It’s a unique
opportunity to tell the world what we all know and hold dear to ourselves, that this is a
world class city with world class potential.
JOHN: You know job creation is clearly a top priority of the Administration. Can you
give us more insights into your plan? And you know how have you done it in the tough
MAYOR EMANUEL: I will but if I told you I’d have to kill you.
No here’s the basic. It’s what you said John. We have great assets. First of all
our people. Everybody knows it. Midwest values, hardworking, hard ethics, hard
working ethic, hard work ethic. I get up at 5:00, way passed my bedtime.
Number two we’re centrally located. You get anywhere in the world, anywhere
in the country directly. We’re the only airport in America that, in North America that has
both major carriers. We have intermodal traffic juggernaut. We have great research
institution, great universities. We lead literally in major fields, healthcare. Some of the
leaders right here. Risk management with CME (inaudible). Business consulting,
insurance. We are the leaders in this field. McKinsey study did a report for World
Business Chicago while we’ve lost a big amount of manufacturing jobs, we’re actually
holding our own in high end manufacturing jobs. What are we doing for it? Which is
one of the things I was trying to address today.
So while we lead in these sectors, transportation as I said, healthcare etc. I cannot
create jobs. Now that used to be the history in the city of Chicago. Government created
jobs. I don’t. I create conditions so you can create jobs. That’s the difference. I create
conditions. Those conditions strong and stable government, good education system,
accentuate our strengths in both the private sector and public sector. We’ll never replace
our location, but we have to invest in our airport. Lot of people like the fact they can get
their employees can get from home to work conveniently. So our mass transit system has
to be developed and constantly modernized. I have to make sure lot of companies, Greg
from Walgreen’s he decided to put his E-commerce in Chicago. Why? Let’s be frank,
it’s easier to find the type of workers for that section in Chicago than it is where the
headquarters is. We have certain strengths, we need to accentuate them so the company’s
see the depth and richness of the City of Chicago. And move on that and then market it.
And ultimately I have to provide safe streets, strong schools, stable finances. You give
that, people will see leadership because we’re shaping our future and we’re not scared of
it. And if you shape your future, people will bet on leadership.
JOHN: You may have heard there was a recent high profile public trial that ended in a 14-
MAYOR EMANUEL: US History for two hundred.
JOHN: And whether we like to talk about it or not, our recent experience with corruption
in Chicago and Illinois affects the image of our City and the State. How do you plan to
address this daunting issue?
MAYOR EMANUEL: Well, John you said some of it in the introduction one of
the first things I did I wasn’t in office two hours, I signed six executive orders all related
to ethics and campaign finance reform. Second is I had the City Council make changes.
I mean you think it’s normal, but if you used to be an alderman were found corrupt
served time, you could still work on the City Council when you got out of jail. That’s
over. Now I just impaneled the leaders in the state all on ethics. Gave them 120 days to
come back with a series of reforms. It is a never ending process. But here’s something
you’ve had now in the first six months, somebody’s a lobbyist who they pay, who pays
them, who their clients are, who they lobby, who they contribute all online easy to use.
Number two used to work in my Administration, you cannot lobby for two years
when you leave. The revolving door is shut. I want what motivates you to be public
service not your rolodex development.
Three, I’m serious about that. I think it’s a high honor to be in public service.
And I want people that I hire to exude that. They may never join the 1% after that, but
Now the third is but also we’ve got a group and I want people cause look, I’m
going to be honest with you, I have a progressive vision. And to have that you have to
have people have trust, have an affirmative view of government. And we’re at a low end.
One of the things is we violated it both on the ethical side and how we do things. And
part of what the ethics is (a) that’s how I think how you should conduct yourself. Back in
2005 Senator Obama and Congressman Emanuel introduced the Ethics Reform that
passed in 2007. So I have a long history on this. I think it’s about building trust,
confidence again that public service is one of the highest callings you can do in your life.
JOHN: So if we’re sure to get gambling how do you insure the integrity of the gambling?
MAYOR EMANUEL: Well first of all, you have a strong board and you have
great board oversight. That’s number one. Number two, other cities are doing it and
there’s oversight and expansion are not inconsistent. They go together and people only
do that if they have trust in what you’re doing.
JOHN: So you mentioned we have some great assets in Chicago. You know during the
current budget constraints, how do you plan to keep Chicago a vibrant and growing city
and the physical planning of city. For instance what can we do to increase our lakefront
and river way as a recreational attraction?
MAYOR EMANUEL: First of all I want you to know Lawrence (inaudible) here.
The City Budget for the City of Chicago’s Corporate Account, the one I just passed park
district, city colleges, Chicago public school system, all four receive positive ratings by
Lawrence (inaudible). And that’s giving people confidence that we’re headed, now we
have hard work, but we’re headed in the right direction. We got this thing turned in the
right place. That’s a long time since all four of them have been praised for what we’re
doing about putting our fiscal house in order. And not being scared to make changes.
That’s no different than what President Preckwinkle’s doing at the County right now.
Being willing to shape the future not be scared by it.
Number two, you will see look when I got to Congress I introduced the first time
this whole concept of Lake Michigan Compact, the Great Lakes Compact. What energy
was for the last 30 years, water will be for the next 30 years. That is the most important
commodity right out that window or out that door, most important commodity. And we
have to start investing in it which is why I helped President Obama create 492 million
dollars into Great Lakes Compact.
I’ve also announced for our rivers that they will become the next recreational
frontier. And we’re putting four boathouses for kayaking, canoeing, sculling and
picnicking all along the river because when we were growing up and still today, the
river’s for moving industrial cargo and raw sewage. It is an incredible asset. We have
seven more miles of riverfront than we do lakefront. And what we all do now is just
drive over it. Value along water is 10% higher than any other property just being next to
water because of the beauty. If we invest in our river, our backyard can be as promising
for us as our front yard which is what the Lake is.
JOHN: TIF can be a powerful way to revitalize neighborhoods. But we also know that it
can be controversial. How do you view TIF, did you know, you knew that?
MAYOR EMANUEL: It comes with the job.
JOHN: That was not a scoop?
MAYOR EMANUEL: No.
JOHN: How do you view TIF assistance and what do you think it’s proper role should be
and shouldn’t be in Chicago’s economic development?
MAYOR EMANUEL: Look for too long, I assume everybody knows TIF’s are
Tax Increments Financing. For too long in my view, TIF’s were seen as our only
economic tool. I mean part of what I’m discussing tonight is our work force. Pat Wertz
said to me at ADM, she’s looking for welders. Forty-four bucks an hour guys plus
healthcare and pensions. That’s also true for Caterpillar. Looking for welders. With
10% unemployment people are looking for people paying forty-four bucks an hour and
can’t find them. Our work force is our great economic tool. Our airport is our great
economic tool. Our public transportation system, is our great economic tool. The people
in this room who are leaders in industry is our great economic tool. Northwestern,
University of Chicago, DePaul hopefully our community colleges is our great economic
tool. We have many economic tools. TIF is one tool and a very complicated complex
and rich toolbox. I’ve used it once to help Sara Lee come home to its rightful place,
Chicago. But I want to say this, GE has 1100 employees in the city of Chicago. The first
week I was Mayor they announced they’re going to expand another 1,000, doubling the
size. There was no TIF.
United was looking at Chicago and other cities for its operation center, 1300
employees. They picked Chicago. For all the assets I was talking about. Not because I
was in there with TIF, which is a legitimate thing, you have to reform it, you have to use
it strategically. But if all you do is think TIF is the only tool you have, you’re putting
everything else on the sideline and you’re not playing your best cards first.
JOHN: You know one of the early impressive things you focused on were the food
deserts on the south side and the west side. Is there a strategy to encourage small
business development, Chicago neighbors. Or are we trending towards supporting the
mini versions of the big box retailers?
MAYOR EMANUEL: You know I did a, well first of all, let me say something
about the food desert. Where I live, Amy and I, we have four or five grocery stores
within a mile. Trust me, I’m sent to them usually at about 8:00 o’clock at night. But no
serious and I meet people they have to go four or five miles to find a grocery store for
fresh fruits and vegetables. Now I want to single out Greg Wasson from Walgreens.
They’re opening 15 stores throughout the City of Chicago that aren’t the Walgreens we
know. They have five aisles with all fresh fruits and vegetables, employ 50 people.
There not just fresh fruits and vegetables for the right reason, they’re an economic engine
in those neighborhoods. They go up, there’s construction jobs. They employ pharmacy.
They move the pharmacy up front so people can get their healthcare. The right type of
food. Now as I said I merely provide opportunity, parents have to take responsibility,
walk in there and do the right thing by their kids. Can’t demand it. But I want you to
know this, now Greg’s going to line his economic interests because that’s job
opportunity, economic growth. Our job was to make sure that the regulatory process was
to move fast so they can move those stores.
We had a conference here. First Lady Michelle Obama came to the second one.
Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Aldi, Sav-A-Lot, we’re going to reduce the 400,000 people that
are affected by half. Give them economic opportunity, job growth and a chance to have
their kids walk by and have a normal neighborhood where they can go in and see fresh
fruits and vegetables.
Last week we announced one million dollars in micro lending for 250 small
businesses to get the type of micro lending we did it at a place called, restaurant called
Mr. Taco. Guy put together 135,000 dollars of family money, couldn’t get started. A
bank wouldn’t see him, normally. No credit rating. Micro lending facility from Axion
he’s not expanding. He’s now looking at a second business. The banks are now looking
at him because he has a credit rating. And so we’re going to create 250 new small
businesses through this micro lending that was first developed by the United States
through the UN in third world countries and the greatest markets are right here in this
JOHN: The City is currently deploying a managed competition model in the
City’s recycling program. Allowing for private companies and the public sector to bid
on providing recycling services. Do you plan to replicate this model in other areas of city
MAYOR EMANUEL: First, yes in eight different sectors tree trimming, booting,
etc. we’re doing it. Now one of the great things besides getting taxpayers the best price
for the best service, I’ve met with the workers of Streets and Sanitation, they are actually
going to this process excited. When they tell you they’re going to win. Now when was
the last time you saw a public employee say hey I want to win this?
No the competition, to do what I need to do as Mayor for all of you, the taxpayers,
I have to bring back a sense of competition, a sense of cultural change inside public
service. The fact that people doing recycling think they are out there trying to win a
contract, has already changed the way they’re delivering service. And I get every week
the reports on how Waste Management is doing against Streets and Sanitation. Both are
going to be you know represented by unions. They’re both teamsters in labors union.
It’s not private sector run, non-union versus public sector union. But the competition has
setup the process where they’re doing better and faster and quicker and getting a whole
different mindset that you find normal in the private sector is like revolutionary in the
public sector. But here’s the credit, Chicago Federation of Labor has agreed to be a
partner in that. Meaning now I’m not debating, not having a fight over it, eight sectors
mono to mono, public sector versus private sector, best service, best price, most reliable
service delivery you win. Whoever wins, the taxpayers win in the end.
JOHN: The full school day was positively received by everyone.
MAYOR EMANUEL: I wouldn’t go by everyone, but I think it was very positive.
JOHN: I was not done. Are there other reforms we haven’t heard about yet that are in
CPS that are doable in the context of your union contracts?
MAYOR EMANUEL: Well first of all, we just are embarking now on the largest
both what I would call the turnover of schools to schools of excellence from AUSL.
Now let me say something about the AUSL model. I went to my old Wright Community
College in my Congressional District was a kindergarten through 8th grade help create the
high school there. They trained teachers to get with the Masters education one year in the
classroom and then the graduates go to another school that becomes a neighborhood
turnaround. Not every one of these schools is a Zipporah Hightower principal at
Bethune. Scores are up. On average double what is the rest of CPS because it’s not one
teacher, one principal. The entire teacher core principal everybody removed, new
principal, new teachers. The whole system the results are not once, twice, they run 17
schools, we’re now doing ten of them in that model. And what is most impressive to me,
at each of these schools parent participation and the parent teacher conferences is at 75%.
Because if you do a good school with good teachers, parents will respond. That’s the
recipe to success.
We’re also doing an expansion of charters for the first time now Gates is funding
the charter compact. They’ll be under the oversight of CPS. They don’t loose their
independence but they’ll be accountable for results which has not happened before.
We’re also expanding our as I said we’re doubling the size, 50% increase of our
pre-K all day school. Cause you can’t make it up if you loose it in the years 1 thru 5.
Fourteen schools have got the state of the art security cameras that we put in Fenger. My
whole idea is to invest in the classroom and take it out of the bureaucracy.
So there’s more changes to come. We can’t afford to keep on the status quo and
the good news is the kids are showing I think the type of promise in their attendance and
what’s going on.
Let me also say John, principals for years were getting report cards for their
schools. We’re making that all available now to parents. I can’t ask parents to be
involved if I pull back information. Every school will have a four year performance
contract we could rate the performance of the principal. We’re the first school system in
the country to give principals performance pay. You improve your scores for your kids,
teacher quality, you’re going to get a bonus. It’s the first school system, the CEO of the
School System, performance pay. Principals performance pay. Teachers, performance
pay. It’s the first school system from the classroom to the corporate suite inside CPS
everybody’s on performance pay.
JOHN: Diversity is a goal we all struggle with attaining in our businesses and our
organizations. How do you approach diversity in Chicago government in your capacity
as leader of this city?
MAYOR EMANUEL: Well first of all, I want the diversity of experience and I
want the diversity of opinions. I want to make sure and I’ve seen it and one of the things
I’m most impressed having worked with both President Obama and President Clinton is
they weren’t scared to have people give a diversion of views. And you can only get the
diversion of views if you have diversion experiences that are brought to bear. And you
have to work on it all the time. A lot of us work at it, you can’t kind of check the box.
You’ve got to make sure you’re always making yourself accessible to a lot of views, a lot
of experiences and your appointments reflect that, top to bottom.
But I’ll also say one of the other things. I mean I take the el about once or twice
to work. I also try to get around today I was in North Lawndale doing a community tour.
Very impressive what they got there. The worst thing to do I think in public service is to
be isolated upstairs away from actual experiences. The thing I have to do is remember
the voices, the experiences and the stories of the people you meet. So you can carry it up
to your desk. Like the young man I said tonight who was on 35th and Dan Ryan, he’s
going to Harold Washington. He’s working. He has a basic agreement. He’s showing
all the things you want somebody to do. And if I didn’t hear that, and we were joking
tonight about 1%, but in all seriousness we have to in my position and I think also in
yours, you have to be able to hear the voices and the stress in peoples lives. There’s a lot
of pressure on middle class families trying to just hold on, provide for their families,
provide them a good living. Make sure their kids have a shot at a future. And the most
important thing I can do is not only have the diversity racially, sexually, ethnically is to
make sure I have a diversity of opinions that are coming to me so you don’t get isolated
in these jobs.
JOHN: I have to be honest my nomination was conditions by Andy McKenna on
finishing by 9:00 o’clock. And he said you would reconvene.
MAYOR EMANUEL: Where are we?
JOHN: The former chairs. I’ve got a final round of questions.
MAYOR EMANUEL: I’ve got a final round of answers.
JOHN: I have no doubt. So the way this works is I ask you a question you have to give
me the first thing that comes into your mind.
MAYOR EMANUEL: Don’t I really need Blue Cross and Blue Shield for this?
JOHN: Most fun is taking office?
MAYOR EMANUEL: I would say when we pass, although I wasn’t in office,
when we passed the legislation in Springfield for the full day and full year.
Oh let me say, no I’ll give you another one, --
JOHN: That wasn’t the rule.
MAYOR EMANUEL: I’m sorry. I’m going to give you three quick examples.
MAYOR EMANUEL: I have too many fun days obviously. We have ESPN rated
Siemon the best high school basketball team in the country. Mather High School just
won for the first time the State of Illinois in 30 years the soccer championship. They
have five continents on that team. I called the young man, 10th grader Whitney Young
National Champion Chess Champion. Our kids are great kids.
JOHN: The Farmer’s Almanac predicts the winter of 2012 will be one of the worst ever.
What do you think?
MAYOR EMANUEL: Nothing will measure against the blizzard last year. That
was a 100 a year and don’t quote me on it this winter.
JOHN: If Chicago of the 1800’s was a city of Big Shoulders, what body part represents
MAYOR EMANUEL: Big mouth. No the truth is I’ve seen it every day. We have
a big heart. We’re known for big shoulders, there’s look at this. You guys love your city.
No other city can do what we do. No other city has this. We have the greatest reserve of
love and affection for our City.
JOHN: Favorite two restaurants in Chicago, one north and one south?
MAYOR EMANUEL: You have to be kidding?
JOHN: No. I’m not making you go west.
MAYOR EMANUEL: Okay. On the north side it’s not, it is favorite in the sense
that it’s, when I was a Congressman Amy and I used to go there for date night it’s called
Glenn’s. It’s a fish restaurant on Montrose. And then Nightwood down in Pilsen.
JOHN: Fred Busse a Republican was mayor of Chicago 104 years ago when the Cubs
won the World Series. Will the Cubs finally repeat during your Administration?
MAYOR EMANUEL: Well given that you got your first Jewish Mayor it’s a safe
bet. I will say this,
JOHN: That tells me you’re going to run several more re-election campaigns.
MAYOR EMANUEL: I will say this, I said this to my office when the Cubs
picked Theo Epstein, the Bears got Gabe, I said you know are people loosing their minds.
Nobody would ever have a Jew in sports. What the hell is going on around here?
JOHN: Who will win the Republican nomination for President?
MAYOR EMANUEL: People usually pay a lot of money for that advice John.
You know I’m actually beginning to feel sorry for Republican primary voters. Look, --
JOHN: I withdraw the question.
MAYOR EMANUEL: Yeah. You know what it is, look, could we shut the
JOHN: I withdrew the question.
MAYOR EMANUEL: Okay. Here’s how you look at it, our party always goes for
the outsider. George McGovern, people forget this, Bill Clinton was the outsider. That is
the history of our party, we go out. Republicans go corporate ladder. CFO, CEO, COO,
so you normally which is how John McCain got it, Bob Dole just look at the history of it.
Then normally you’d go Mitt Romney. But in the year like this, I wouldn’t go with
normal, Newt’s showing a stamina that is a challenge. Mitt Romney is also showing in
my view obviously Republican primary voters are having challenge you know warming
to him. That said, having watched Newt for years, I’d be interest in what happens by
Wednesday with him. So I don’t know.
JOHN: Final question, favorite four-letter word?
MAYOR EMANUEL: Love.
JOHN: I knew it, I knew it. Can anybody believe this is only seven months. So this
meeting is adjourned, thank you.