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Paul Vallas hurls hat into the ring, others to follow

New developments in the mayoral race this week include former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas throwing his hat into the race, while a former U.S. attorney and Police Board president appears closer to doing the same.

Vallas, 64, held a press conference Friday at the University Club Chicago announcing his official bid for mayor and promised detailed plans on public safety, education and pensions at a later date.

Then on Monday Lori Lightfoot resigned from her position as president of the Chicago Police Board, according to reports in the Chicago Sun-Times and Tribune, a move some see as a sign Lightfoot is closer to entering the mayoral competition.

“I’m running because the city’s in deep trouble,” Vallas said. “And I have the experience and track record of success to offer and implement solutions to effectively and affordably address the cities issues.”

Calling his candidacy “a campaign of ideas,” Vallas said he would address “real issues” with “real solutions,” regardless of who wins come the election.

“If those solutions become reality, if those solutions are actually implemented and sustained, then it would have well been worth the effort,” Vallas said.

Vallas has been credited by some with reforming the Chicago Public school system, balancing the budget and building new schools during between 1995 and 2001. Prior to his tenure, the Chicago school system was labelled “the worst in the country” by the then secretary of education, WIlliam Bennett.

During the conference, Vallas was also endorsed by the community organization Cook County Democratic Women.

“Paul Vallas doesn’t have to prove anything about his reputation,” CCDW head Rikki Jones said in her endorsement. “You can go to any part of the city and stand in front of a school that he built.”

Vallas joined the list of candidates looking to take on incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Some include former CPS principal Troy LaRaviere, businessman and politician Willie Wilson and former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

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