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Artist Wants Kanye West to Run for Mayor of Chicago

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Chicago Artist Wants Kanye West to Run for Mayor

AP

FILE - This Jan. 17, 2014 file photo shows singer Kanye West as he arrives for the Givenchy men's Fall-Winter 2014-2015 fashion collection in Paris. (AP Photo/Zacharie Scheurer, File)

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Kanye West for mayor of Chicago?

That's the apparent dream of an artist in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood. 

"Why should Kanye West be the mayor of Chicago?" Ben Shepard writes on his website, Kanye 4 Mayor. "Because Chicago is headed in the wrong direction and Mayor West could lead a movement to make it the best city in the world."

The site was created to implore the hip-hop maverick and newly minted husband of Kim Kardashian to make a bid for mayor. Replete with lyrics and interview quotes, it cites West's leadership skills, creativity and fame as key skills needed to revive Chicago's declining population, fix its schools and put a halt to gang violence.

Shepard insists his plea is sincere. He says he doesn't like the current direction of Chicago and nominates West as the best person to lead an "internally diverse, multipronged social movement" to create needed change.

"Not to put any pressure on you," he writes in an open letter to West, "but you are the only person in the world who could make this happen. There isn’t anyone else who (1) is wealthy and famous enough (2) is from Chicago, and (3) may actually understand the problems with the city."

Though West hails from Chicago, he moved to California years ago. If he did run, he'd be up against current Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a man with a $7 million war chest and high-end political supporters like Bill Clinton.

That said, a recent Chicago Sun-Times poll revealed only 29 percent of Chicagoans would vote for Emanuel in February 2015's mayoral race. "Thank God the election is not today," the mayor joked.

West, for his part, has connections of his own and clearly has money to spend. His wedding to Kardashian reportedly cost about $2.8 million and the couple purchased a $11 million mansion.

West has been known to tout his Chicago upbringing -- "'never think I'm not from Chicago," he told Jimmy Kimmel last year -- but his actual current ties to the town are unclear.

Shepard isn't giving up hope, though. He asks on his website to talk with West and discuss his proposal to replace the current City Hall regime with someone a little more creative and a little less entrenched in Chicago politics.

"'Mayor' can mean many different things," he writes to West. "Right now it means a servant of a very narrow elite who exerts massive public relations energy to disguise this fact. Under your administration it would mean a combination of role model, consultant, and design chief. It would probably take 8 years to get all this work done but just think what would be possible after."

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