As Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel watches his potential successors battle it out, he’s looking back on his time as mayor with fondness as it nears its end.
Mayor Emanuel, known for his frenetic pace and his taste for battle on the political front, says he won’t “mail it in” in his final months in office.
In an exclusive interview with NBC 5, Emanuel praised his police department, who announced a 10-year low in January homicides on Friday.
“The investment in training, in leadership, and all the things we’ve been trying to do are beginning to bear fruit,” he said.
Emanuel also addressed the big news swirling around several prominent aldermen, as both Ed Burke and Danny Solis face serious investigations. He said that he has not been contacted as part of any investigation.
“No. Full stop,” he said. “I’ve been in politics for 24 years. I’ve never hired an attorney for anything I’ve had to do. I got three and a half months left, and I plan on walking out with my integrity and reputation.”
The mayor has been asked repeatedly if he will make any endorsement in the race to replace him, but says he prefers to let the candidates state their cases without any interference or influence from him.
“You can’t say yes to everybody,” he said. “Part of this job is being up front about the challenges, and what it’s going to take from all of us.”
As Emanuel wraps up his second term, and checks final items off his to-do list, there is a bit of angst, but there is also gratitude at being given the chance to do a job he had always dreamed of doing.
“I’ve loved it,” he said. “It’s the job of a lifetime, but it’s not a job for a lifetime, and I’m glad I did it.”