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Rep. Kam Buckner campaign kickoff coverage roundup

Friday, May 13, 2022


State Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago) launched a bid for Chicago mayor on Thursday, presenting Mayor Lori Lightfoot with a challenge from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Buckner told WTTW News in an interview hours before he made his campaign official that he decided to run for mayor because Chicago needs a leader who is “fearless and compassionate.”

“What I’m hearing from folks is that they don’t feel safe, they don’t feel seen or heard and they don’t think there is a plan for their safety,” said Buckner, adding that business leaders feel “neglected” and residents are concerned about the future of the Chicago Public Schools.

“We need a leader who can talk to all of them,” Buckner said.

* Tribune

State Rep. Kam Buckner kicked off his mayoral campaign Thursday, proclaiming “we cannot wait a day longer for a safe and just Chicago for all of us.”

Buckner pledged a more collaborative Chicago with “a mayor who brings people together,” an apparent reference to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reputation for combativeness with critics. […]

A mayor’s job is not just to fight for the sake of fighting,” Buckner told a crowd of several dozen supporters outside a South Loop tea shop on a sweltering afternoon. “It’s time to bring people together, find a way to ‘yes’ instead of being stuck at ‘no.’”

And he pointed to Chicago’s “best mayors” as those who “made our common values and common purpose our focus, not our differences.”

* Sun-Times

Buckner said his balanced approach to public safety would happen through “vastly increasing” the city’s gun violence prevention budget, investing in anti-violence organizations, helping push through gun reform and “a robust mental health responder model.”

Buckner’s past personal decisions also may be brought up by opponents, such as his 2019 arrest for driving under the influence, which he said he would have a “direct conversation with the people of Chicago” about.

* Hyde Park Block Club Chicago

He called on Chicago Police to adopt a “community policing” approach that prioritizes residents’ needs, rather than “neighborhood policing” based on geography.

This people-over-places mentality would transfer to his governance over the economy and tourism efforts as well, Buckner said.

“We have to find a way to celebrate the places and spaces that we occupy — their diversity, their importance, their significance — but more importantly, the people who live there,” he said. […]\

Buckner intends to directly negotiate a new contract with the Chicago Teachers Union in 2024 if elected — “not by proxy, not from behind the podium, not through press releases,” he said at his campaign’s launch Thursday. The announcement was made outside the Tea Pot Brew Bakery, 1802 S. Wabash Ave

* ABC 7

When asked if he is saying that Mayor Lori Lightfoot has failed the city, Buckner replied: “What I’m saying is that if I thought that the city was moving in the right direction, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking today as a candidate for mayor.”

Mayor Lightfoot’s campaign team went on the offensive.

“Being Mayor of Chicago requires the sort of toughness that Kam Buckner hasn’t shown in his public life. When others stood up to Madigan and told him it was time to go, Buckner voted to keep him in power. You can’t take on the machine when you’re part of it,” Lightfoot campaign spokesperson Christina Freundlich said in an emailed statement.

Lightfoot’s team is also expected to make an issue of Buckner’s two DUI arrests, to which he pleaded guilty. In both, police said he was found passed out behind the wheel.

* Hyde Park Herald

Throughout his career Buckner has been outspoken on issues of policing and public safety. Early in May 2020, he reported on a police officer stopping him and demanding to see proof of purchase and identification after he left a South Loop retailer, saying that the officer said he “looked like he was up to something.”

“Which begs the question, what does someone who is up to something look like?” Buckner asked on Twitter. He recalled the talks young Black boys receive “on how to maneuver a society that often looks at you as a threat first” and a mentor who told him as a teenager to “dress like a prospect and not a suspect.”

At today’s campaign launch, Buckner continued: “Where you live should not determine if you live,” he said. “Being a Black kid from the South Side, I know what it’s like to lie down on the wet pavement handcuffed because police officers think I fit a description.

“I’m a lifelong South Sider who has decided to remain a South Sider, and it’s important to me that I bring all those experiences to bear in City Hall,” he said. “I bring all of that with me in this race and, hopefully, a Buckner administration.”


In announcing his candidacy, Buckner previewed his “four star plan to bring Chicago back” — a nod to the city’s iconic flag. He said he plans to put forward detailed plans to improve public safety, build the “most effective” education system, create equitable economic development and deal with the city’s legacy debt.

Buckner co-sponsored legislation that will create an elected school board in Chicago by 2025. Though Lightfoot initially supported the concept of an elected board, she lobbied against the legislation that Gov. JB Pritzker ultimately signed.

He also was the chief co-sponsor on a criminal justice reform package that eliminated cash bail. Republicans are targeting that legislation for repeal and it’s becoming a key talking point in the gubernatorial primary.

A former football player at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Buckner has also supported bills that would allow college athletes to earn money through endorsements.


Buckner says he doesn’t want a teacher contract to be a war when it comes to schools. He says he’s prepared to negotiate from his kitchen table if he has to – not from podiums or press releases – because parents are fed up.

“We’re sitting by a telephone at 10 at night trying to see whether their children have school, trying to figure out how to log into a broadband system that was janky,” Buckner said.

He also wants to make sure the Chicago Bears don’t go anywhere.

“The Chicago Bears should always play football in Chicago.”

* Crain’s

Some reaction to his announcement came from Lightfoot ally Ald. Michelle Harris, 8th, who chairs the City Council Rules Committee.

Chicagoans, said Harris, must “be wary of those who seek to divide us and reap the benefits. . . .We must remain vigilant against candidates who put themselves ahead of the progress we’ve been making together, or who would rather factionalize our community to grab a brass ring than do the hard work to make change,” she said.

Harris also criticized Buckner for being one of 51 Illinois House Democrats who initially voted to keep Michael Madigan as House speaker last year. Madigan, under indictment in the ComEd bribery scandal, eventually withdrew from the race and retired.

* NBC 5

Recently, Buckner met with other candidates who are still mulling entry into the race for mayor, including State Rep. LaShawn Ford, Ald. Rod Sawyer and activist and current Congressional candidate Ja’Mal Green.

“I think the people will decide where they want the city to go,” he said.

* Campaign video

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Tom - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 12:59 pm:

    Great video. Who is his consultant? Nice work.

  2. - SuburbanRepublican - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 1:02 pm:

    Is Rep. Buckner staying on the ballot for State Rep?

  3. - Rudy’s teeth - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 1:14 pm:

    It takes more than rhetoric to run a city.

    Kam Buckner’s lack of experience in any corporate environment and poor decision-making regarding personal choices point to a weak candidate as mayor of Chicago.

    Buckner is more suited to become Mayor of Rush Street than Mayor of Chicago.

  4. - Roman - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 1:15 pm:

    == …Buckner intends to directly negotiate a new contract with the Chicago Teachers Union in 2024 if elected ==

    That reminds me that the next mayoral term will be the last one in which City Hall has any say in what goes on at CPS. The elected school board will be in charge after that. It will be interesting to see how that shapes future mayoral campaigns.

  5. - Precinct Captain - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 1:15 pm:

    The first thing Lori Lightfoot did after winning election was run to Springfield to kiss Mike Madigan’s ring.

  6. - NIU Grad - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 1:16 pm:

    “Buckner met with other candidates who are still mulling entry into the race for mayor, including State Rep. LaShawn Ford, Ald. Rod Sawyer and activist and current Congressional candidate Ja’Mal Green”

    If the message is “put aside your ego and coalesce behind a candidate”, that might be a tough sell for those three…

  7. - Almost the Weekend - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 1:19 pm:

    Don’t see Buckner having a chance. It’s still very early, but nobody is coming in that is going to scare anyone. Mendoza might have ran at the wrong time. Patience is a virtue in politics.

  8. - Nick - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 1:20 pm:

    “A mayor’s job is not just to fight for the sake of fighting”

    Idk if he’ll win but I almost want to endorse him just for this sentence alone. The bar is on the floor.

  9. - Donnie Elgin - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 1:25 pm:

    I like the ad portrays him as a tough, hard working and genuine Chicagoan. He will have to run against the this “Lightfoot’s team is also expected to make an issue of Buckner’s two DUI arrests, to which he pleaded guilty. In both, police said he was found passed out behind the wheel”

  10. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 1:26 pm:


  11. - Marky - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 1:27 pm:

    “Kam Buckner’s lack of experience in any corporate environment”

    Call me a radical, but I think city hall should be run like a government, not a corporation.

  12. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 1:41 pm:

    >Lightfoot’s team is also expected to make an issue of Buckner’s two DUI arrests

    While I usually have a rather visceral reaction to people with more than one DUI arrest. The thing about his arrests is how he handled it on a personal level. He never hid or refused to acknowledge he was at fault - not to the public or even to the court in his guilty plea.

    It really does make a difference. The easy path is to lash out at anyone pointing out those mistakes, and try to shift blame. I have not seen Mr. Buckner do that one single time, to the contrary, he has accepted full responsibility for what he did and admits his mistakes in a humble tone. To me, that’s an important character trait.

    If he gets another one, and demonstrates he has not improved as a person while trying to step up to the plate to be the next mayor, my patience and willingness to give him any support would be completely gone.

    If he can instead show he has grown as a person and those mistakes are behind him, well to me that is a point of strength that works in his favor and someone who would be an appropriate choice to be mayor.

  13. - walker - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 1:41 pm:

    Creating factions and strife among potential allies is LL’s greatest strength.

  14. - Pundent - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 2:19 pm:

    A lot has changed since Lightfoot. She went from fighting for you to fighting with you. And that combative spirit might work but more often than not she fighting over petty issues and looking for vengeance. I’m not sure that Buckner will be the one to beat her, but she’s a very different candidate this time around.

  15. - Bob Cobb - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 2:34 pm:

    Mayor Lightfoot has shown she lacks the competency to run Chicago, but Rep. Buckner’s DUIs and questionable campaign spending are pretty worrisome.

    I’ll keep holding my breath for a candidate that checks the competency box and the moral box.

  16. - Dan Johnson - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 2:36 pm:

    That’s a really cool video and I can’t recall seeing a “son of” theme presented so centrally. Good for Rep Buckner. We need more leaders with legislative experience to serve as executives as they tend to be far more collaborative and thus better at finding agreement.

  17. - Amalia - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 2:38 pm:

    what is policing based on community needs rather than policing based on geography?

  18. - Proud Sucker - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 3:30 pm:

    He has been mulling this for awhile. I think the snow completely melted by late-February.

  19. - Southsider - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 3:34 pm:

    Good video production, but very light on substance. Very light. That includes his interviews.

  20. - SaulGoodman - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 3:54 pm:

    **very light on substance. Very light.**

    It is a launch video. They’re always light on substance.

  21. - wow now - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 3:59 pm:

    Lightfoots’ allies are right to be scared and attack him from day one. He’s going to win.

    He will connect with people in a way she has not been able to. Kam will win.

  22. - Pundent - Friday, May 13, 22 @ 3:59 pm:

    As launch videos go this is one of the best I’ve seen in recent memory. From the message to the overall production it truly is outstanding.

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