"Because I love this city -- the place my family came to and the place where I was born -- I want to fight for a better future for all the people of Chicago," he said in announcing his candidacy, according to prepared remarks.
Emanuel made his announcement at Coonley Elementary School on the city's North Side.
In the weeks since departing his high-profile position as President Obama's Chief of Staff, Emanuel has been on a whirlwind "Tell It Like It Is" listening tour.
"Chicagoans aren’t shy with their opinions. We have strong feelings and we’re not afraid to state them. Of course, some of us use better language than others," he said, taking a jab at himself for his own often-colorful word speak.
There were four main platform points in the now- (finally) official mayoral candidate's announcement: creating jobs, improving schools, fighting crime and getting the city's financial house in order.
Detailed plans, he said, would come in a series of speeches in December, January and February.
But regarding the city's finances, he gave a bit of a preview:
"First, all residents of this city will have to share in the sacrifices and necessary changes. Everyone will be better off only if everyone’s affected," he said. "Second, we will change the culture of city government by putting a premium on delivering service to the taxpayers who pay for it."
The former North Shore congressman spent some time praising Mayor Richard Daley for the work he's done during his 22 years in office. Daley's surprise Sept. 7 announcement that he would not seek a seventh term as the city's chief executive opened the door for Emanuel and other candidates to launch campaigns.
U.S. Rep. Danny Davis is expected to formally announce his candidacy on Sunday morning, and state Sen. James Meeks has a similar event planned at the University of Illinois at Chicago hours later. Several other people, including Chicago Board of Education President Gery Chico, former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and City Clerk Miguel del Valle have already announced their candidacy.
They have one week, beginning Monday, to file their nominating petitions.