Vallas Backs Chico for Mayor - NBC Chicago
Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Vallas Backs Chico for Mayor



    Vallas Backs Chico for Mayor

    Former Chicago School CEO Paul Vallas Tuesday endorsed mayoral candidate Gery Chico. 

    Vallas, who's held various leadership positions in city governments, was clear from the beginning that he believes Chico has what it takes to his the ground running if elected.

    "Who is ready day one to run the city?" Vallas said.

    The endorsement raised a few eyebrows because a few assembled reporters recalled when Vallas considered running for governor against Blagojevich in 2005, but withdrew. Some reporters pointed out that Chico had actually endorsed Balgojevich in that race.

    "History speaks for itself," said Chico. "He [Vallas] would have been a great governor." 

    Vallas chimed in and said he had  originally told Chico that he would not be running for governor. Later Vallas would change his mind and launch a campaign against Rod Blagojevich. In the end it didn't fly, but Vallas stuck around and spoke off camera about that particular campaign.

    Regardless, Chico is happy to have the endorsement and praised Vallas.

    "Things don't happen by themselves" says Chico and "Paul Vallas is a doer."

    Vallas, who is certainly a little grayer and thinner, says he's lost some weight as he's been spending a lot of time rebuilding schools in Haiti but now lives in the South suburbs.

    Is this a sign he's ready to get back into politics?

    It would not be too much of a stretch considering the work they did revamping the Chicago Public Schools.

    "You need exceptional plans" says Chico about his time working with Vallas. "We stretched for benefit of children." 

    While Chico won't say if he would hire Vallas, he did say he "would I be happy to have him, yes."

    Chico also took advantage of the attention to clarify that "he's not going to challenge Rahm Emmanuel's residency."

    Vallas' brother, Dean, is an adviser to Chico's mayoral campaign.