Gery Chico on Thursday became the latest confirmed candidate for Chicago mayor, joining more than a dozen contenders in the wake of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's surprise announcement that he wouldn't seek re-election.
"Chicago is at the crossroads of opportunity," Chico said in a statement announcing his candidacy. "It always has been, but you have to work to give residents and the business community the chance to grow and thrive."
Chico, former chief of staff to Mayor Richard M. Daley, ran for U.S. Senate in 2004 and Chicago mayor in 2011. He said in a statement that he will focus on "violence, education, jobs and economic development."
"Those are the issues that our city and its residents care most about, and need to be tackled quickly," Chico said. "No matter what your background is, no matter what neighborhood you grew up in, no matter what language you speak, it’s time to pull this city together and make it work for all of us."
Chico's resume includes time spent as board president of Chicago Public Schools, president of the Chicago Park District and chairman of the City Colleges of Chicago.
He joins a large, fluctuating field of mayoral contenders, the latest of which includes former White House Chief of Staff (and son of the late Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley) Bill Daley.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle also is expected to announce her candidacy on Thursday.
Earlier this month, in a bombshell news conference, Emanuel revealed he would not run for re-election. He has served as mayor of Chicago since 2011.
"This has been the job of a lifetime," he said, "but it is not a job for a lifetime. You hire us to get things done – and pass the torch when we’ve done our best to do what you hired us to do."