Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Rahm's Been Reaching Out to Karen Lewis

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Chicago Teacher's Union president talked with Mary Ann Ahern on the one year anniversary of the Chicago Teacher's Strike and said that Mayor Emanuel has been reaching out to get their relationship back on track. They haven't spoken in two years. (Published Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013)

    Chicago Teacher's Union President Karen Lewis hasn't spoken to Rahm Emanuel in two years, ever since he allegedly cursed at her during a meeting. 

    But the mayor appears to be trying to repair their relationship. 

    Karen Lewis Interview Part Two

    [CHI] Karen Lewis Interview Part Two
    The second half of our exclusive interview with Chicago Teacher's Union President Karen Lewis on the one year anniversary of the teachers strike. In this segment, she discusses her fractured relationship with Rahm Emanuel and how she sees it developing in the future. (Published Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013)

    "Well the mayor reached out to me because he hadn't seen me in a while," she said during a one-on-one interview with NBC 5. "Obviously that's different, so I'm looking forward to moving in a completely different direction."

    Lewis and Emanuel became sparring partners before he took office, and political enemies after Emanuel announced plans to close schools. 

    Karen Lews Invterview Part One

    [CHI] Karen Lews Invterview Part One
    Karen Lewis is one year removed from taking her union through a strike. Mary Ann Ahern checks in with the sometimes popular, often devisive Chicago Teacher's Union president. (Published Wednesday, Sep 11, 2013)

    She encouraged her union to strike in 2012, and they did just that. 

    But now that the dust has settled on closing 50 Chicago Public Schools, Rahm is reaching out. He sent Lewis a letter on the first day of school asking about her well being after she missed the first day of school.

    "Karen, as a former teacher, I know it must have been difficult for you to miss the first day of school. I hope you feel better and have a quick recovery. Sincerely, Mayor Emanuel," the letter read.

    Lewis said she was keeping a low profile on day one, and wasn't ill.

    But she takes the letter as a good sign; perhaps an indicator of a relationship reset.

    "Well I don't know if we want to do 'do over,'" she said.  "I think we need to do differently." 

    The CTU president, however, isn't planning on backing off her role as thorn in the side of the mayor. 

    Watch the embedded videos for the entire interview with Karen Lewis.