Both at the federal and state level of government, we have failed to address the crisis of economic inequality and opportunity in a meaningful way—one that directly relates to the needs and concerns of working Chicagoans. It’s time we address issues of inequity head-on and find solutions at the local level. Addressing those needs through a legislative agenda focused on workers’ rights and social justice has been the focus of my work as a member of the Chicago City Council, and the reason I have been a lead sponsor on such initiatives as Paid Sick Leave, the Wage Theft Ordinance, the Office of Labor Standards, the Fair Workweek Ordinance and the Privatization Transparency, Accountability and Performance Ordinance.
As treasurer, I want to continue our fight against economic inequality through an investment/market-based approach that aligns the financial portfolio of Chicago with the values of working people in Chicago. It’s time we harness the power of the Office of Treasurer to harness to power of all 2.7 million Chicagoans.
That’s why I intend to establish an Office of Economic Empowerment to address, reform and educate on the issues that are most central to economic stability: housing, debt, and employment among them. My vision for the office is one of a resource to all Chicagoans on issues of economic inequality, but especially to those in direct need of education and programming. It is my hope that the mayor and City Council will engage with the office to develop solutions to economic inequality in Chicago.