Mayor Rahm Emanuel has dropped the first TV ad of his 2015 re-election campaign, along with a new slogan: "Chicago Together."
The 30-second spot, called "Clean Air," features Chicagoan Kim Wasserman praising Emanuel's response to toxic coal plant pollution affecting residents' lungs (including her son's) in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods on the West Side of town. It casts the Windy City boss, who's attempting to soften his prickly public image as he seeks a second term in office, as decisive, empathic and environmentally-friendly.
Two years ago Emanuel made a pact with the plants' owner, Midwest Generation, to shut down the smokestacks amid growing resident and activist outcry.
I think Rahm comes at a lot of these issues being able to have the tough conversations. He said, 'If the right thing to do is shut them down, then that is what I will do. And that's exactly what he did.' That's the kind of leadership that our communities need," said Wasserman.
Also on Tuesday: The mayor launched a new campaign website, chicagotogether.org, that touts City Hall successes and focuses on neighborhoods, soliciting visitors' personal stories.
"We want the new site to be a place that celebrates Chicago and all of the amazing people who make it great,"says Emanuel campaign manager Michael Ruemmler. "The homepage features a map with stories and success from every neighborhood in the city, and a place for you to add your own."
The "Chicago Together" motto conveys Emanuel's efforts to undo Chicago's Dickensian, tale-of-two-cities history as well as his local reputation as uncaring toward those who live below the Loop.
His biggest rivals in the mayoral race are a pair of political progressives, 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti and Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. In recent months, Emanuel has embraced his populist-liberal side to push proposals like raising the minimum wage from $8.25 to $13. This environment-focused ad (below), piggybacks on rising support for climate change policies and also paints Emanuel as more active on the issue than Fioretti and Garcia. Behold: