CHICAGO: W Chicago i na przedmieściach wyborcy przygotowują sie do wyborów, które odbędą sę 2 kwietnia, 2019 roku. Dr. Marek Rudnicki udostępnił nam wypowiedzi jakie zebrał od dwóch głównych kandydatek na burmistrza miasta Chicago w imieniu kilku polonijnych organizacji. Zamierzeniem Polonii jest aby wybrać jak najlepszych kandydatów na burmistrza i na radnych Chicago oraz na przedmieściach.
Najwięcej uwagi przyciągają wybory burmistrza w Chicago. Miasto liczy około 2,7 miliona mieszkańców i decyzje podejmowane w Chicago oddziaływują na to, co dzieje się w ponad 7 milionowej aglomeracji chicagowskiej.
Szacuje się iż w Chicago mieszka około 250,000 Polaków, co stanowi blisko 10% mieszkańców. Jest to ogromny potencjał liczebny i jakościowy. W całej aglomeracji chicagowskiej szacuje się, iż Polonia liczy około 900, 000 osób.
Polonia amerykańska mobilizuje się do tegorocznych wyborów.
@ Andrzej Mikołajczyk
Chicago, March 20, 2019
Dear Candidate for Mayor for City of Chicago,
The Polish American Community is energized with anticipation of the election for Mayor of the City of Chicago. We closely follow your program which promises hopeful changes to many aspects of our lives. We, as the leaders of major Polonia organizations would like to contribute to your support in the most constructive manner possible. We also seek to reinvigorate our community by paraphrasing the famous line from President John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what Mayor can do for you, but what you can do for your City”. These final days before the election grants us the opportunity to ask you several questions. Your plans for addressing our concerns would be published in Polish media across Chicago, with hope of gaining even more support for your candidacy.
- The Polish community is composed of nearly a million people in Cook County. This includes 250,000 individuals in the City of Chicago alone. Polish is considered the third most identified language in these areas. We would like to know what the Mayor plans on doing for Polonia?
Lori Lightfoot (LL): Chicago’s strength comes from its diversity. We must ensure that Polonia, like all communities, is treated fairly and equitably. That begins in our schools. We must work collaboratively with stakeholders in the Polish community to turn our schools around and make them a viable option for families with children. That important dialogue and partnership has to start from day one with parents, teachers, and other important stakeholders, and not only when a situation reaches a crisis point.
Tony Preckwinkle (TP): As Mayor, I will continue to pursue the values of inclusiveness and diversity. Chicago is a vibrant quilt of cultures and communities that must be not only recognized and valued but preserved. Our City and County thrive because of the collaboration amongst these groups. I will also continue to ensure that City services are accessible in the Polish community.
Throughout my career, I have always done my best to engage all stakeholders in critical policy decisions that ultimately impact so many of our citizens. I have always believed that it’s important for all voices to be heard, valued, and celebrated in Chicago.
- Our expectations are that the new Mayor will nurture the Polish community and foster cooperation between Polonia and other active community groups in our beloved City. It is our wish that a liaison be established in the executive offices to maximize this relationship.
LL: Chicago works best when each community participates in and understands the direction of our city. That’s why, as mayor, I have committed to increasing transparency in city government, promoting public town halls, and ensuring that all communities have a voice. I will work closely with your organizations and other Polish-American community groups to determine whether, after these steps, we should also recruit a liaison.
TP: Diversity and representation are hallmarks of my career, both as Alderman of the 4th Ward and Cook County Board President. I am committed to continuing this legacy of building an inclusive team building if elected. I look forward to working with the Polish community in the Mayor’s Office.
III. It would also be respectful to the Polish Community of Chicago, considering a population of 1 Pole in 7 persons in Cook County, that this interest be appropriately represented, by appointment of vetted candidates from our Community, to some of the 127 boards and commissions, as well as to the numerous staff and leadership positions in some of the selected 33 city departments.
LL: As mayor, I will build an administration that represents the diversity that makes our city strong to ensure all of our communities have a seat at the table where the decisions are being made. That includes the Polish community, and I will work toward proper representation when making appointments to our city’s boards and commissions, and in city departments.
TP: I will look to the Polish community for advice and counsel. As mentioned above, diversity and representation have been hallmarks of my career, both as Alderman of the 4th Ward and Cook County Board President. I am committed to continuing this legacy if elected.
- The Polish community has a history of culture and a steadfast passion for its place in the community and in the world. We only hope that these requests are given the respectful attention they deserve and that proper resources will be devoted towards cultivating the roots which Polonia and the City of Chicago share. What would be your plan to increase our access to specific Programs and Grants available to different communities, minorities and other groups requesting special attention from City of Chicago?
LL: The City of Chicago can also do more to ensure equitable funding of the arts and cultural programs. As mayor, I will ensure that all communities have fair access to much needed funding for grants to individual artists, arts organizations, and other cultural organizations. I will also convene a working group to bring together ideas and resources from all communities in the city to develop policies and strategies to protect our cultural institutions and traditions.
TP: Each community in Chicago has its own challenges and needs, and the Polish community is no different. During my time at the County, I have worked to increase the opportunities provided to all of our city’s communities by working to build small businesses for all communities in Chicago. I’ve already proposed increasing our investment in the Chicago Micro-lending Institute and reforming The Neighborhood Opportunity Fund to help small and medium size businesses gain access to capital resources desperately needed for our communities to thrive. If elected, I will ensure the polish community has received the resources needed to thrive.
- We are extremely happy with the historically symbiotic relationship between the United States and Poland. We expect to re-invigorate the special rapport, that the Mayor of the largest Polish city outside of Poland, has shared with its Polish counterparts. Our Community will appreciate your participations in our most important cultural events, signaling to your voters, support which extends beyond election period.
LL: As mayor, I will work to strengthen this relationship and affirm this special rapport. Cultural events like Casmir Pulaski Day are a good reminder of the long and historic relationship between Poland and the United States. I look forward to participating in and learning from these cultural events
TP: As Mayor, I look forward to participating and strengthening our historic relationship. If elected, the polish community can trust that I will continue to support them and all the communities that make this City strong. That mutual support allows us to remain passionate about our work and passionate about our people.
Jozef Cikowski Polish Highlanders Alliance of North America
Michael Niedzinski Polish American Congress Illinois Division
Marek Rudnicki Polish American Medical Society
Stanley Skoczen Polish American Chamber of Commerce