Emanuel’s Office Responds to Recall Legislation: ‘Mayor’s Focus is Not on His Own Personal Politics’

In order to pass in both the House and Senate, the bill needs the support of at least two Chicago aldermen and 85,000 registered voters who submit their signatures

The office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement Thursday in response to proposed legislation that would allow for a recall of the mayor, saying Emanuel is "energized" by the challenges in front of him.

"We understand there's a desire by some to insert politics into this discussion, but the mayor's focus is not on his own personal politics," Adam Collins, a spokesperson for the mayor, said. "His focus is on the residents of this city and finally and fully addressing the issue of police accountability, which has challenged Chicago for decades. He is energized by the challenge in front of us, and committed to driving real solutions for our city." 

State Rep. LaShawn Ford, a Chicago Democrat, filed House Bill 4356 in Springfield Wednesday, the same day Emanuel delivered an emotional apology for the city's handling of the Laquan McDonald case. Later that day, thousands of protesters marched through the streets of downtown Chicago demanding the mayor's resignation.

If the bill is passed by both House and Senate and signed by the governor, a recall election could occur. The bill also has to have the support of at least two Chicago aldermen and 85,000 registered voters who submit their signatures.

Ford, who represents the Austin neighborhood, said Emanuel should be held accountable if he doesn't move the city forward as he has promised. The representative believes the bill will pass despite the mayor's powerful Springfield allies, which include Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan.

"It's about doing what the people have asked me to do," Ford said.

The House is not due back in session until early January. In the meantime, the Coalition for a New Chicago attempts to rally support for the bill and find the 85,000 people willing to provide their signatures.

Gregory Livingston, the founder of the group, said he hopes Madigan rises to the occasion. He added that the group plans to submit "a million signatures" in Springfield on Jan. 13 and bring "bus loads of people" to the state capitol.

As to the two aldermen they need to support the bill, Livingston appeared undeterred by the challenge.

"If we don't have them now, we will develop them, we will create them. I'll give birth to two city councilmen if I have to to make this happen because Rahm must go," Livingston said. "He should save us all the trouble and just resign right now." 

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