By: Jerad Karasek
The 2019 Chicago Mayoral Election is one of the most crowded in Chicago’s history, already with nine challengers to Rahm Emanuel, eight months before the election.Running for mayor against an incumbent is a daunting challenge, especially for a younger, less-experienced candidates. Not only must they get the funding for their campaign together, they need to have a certain number of signatures on their nominating petitions to even get on the ballot. This hasn’t stopped two young men, Ja’Mal Green and Matthew Roney, from running against Rahm Emanuel and others in the upcoming Chicago Mayoral Election.
Defeating an incumbent at a young age is definitely possible. 18-year-old Michael Sessions defeated 51-year-old incumbent Doug Ingles in 2005 in the Mayoral Election of the Michigan town of Hillsdale.
Ja’Mal Green, a 22-year-old Black Lives Matter activist and longtime Emanuel critic, began his campaign for Mayor of Chicago on April 6, 2018. He is liberal on social issues and has spoken out against police discrimination and brutality. During an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Green explained how a young person can bring positive qualities to job of Mayor of Chicago. “Millennials all over the world are stepping up and taking charge. In the environment we’re in today, Chicago needs change, corruption needs to end, we need a modern approach to politics in Chicago,” he said. “It’s up to us. The next generation is here, and we’re ready. Our young people are important, and we are going to stand up and make sure our young people get the leadership that they deserve,” he said.
Matthew Roney is a 20-year-old certified pharmaceutical technician and political science student at DePaul University. He is liberal and plans to follow a progressive agenda to improve Chicago. His mission is to turn Chicago into an attractive, healthy, family-friendly city whose residents are empowered and fully engaged in its sustainability and growth. His message to Chicago is listed on his website. “I will work to increase transport options; build complete communities; protect the green zone, and invest in education and related human capital programs, such as job training and early childhood development,” he said. “I will invest crucial resources in communities of color on the South and West Side that have been affected by years of government neglect, disinvestment, and redlining,” he said.
The unrest surrounding Rahm Emanuel means this could be anyone’s election. A young Mayor bringing fresh ideas could be exactly what the city of Chicago needs for improvement.