CHICAGO – Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said Saturday that tackling Chicago’s reputation for sweetheart deals and patronage head-on is first on his to-do list if he’s elected to be the city’s next mayor.
Emanuel told the Associated Press in an interview that he would sign an executive order barring his appointees from lobbying the city for two years after leaving his administration. He also talked about improving the city’s hiring practices that for years were marred by illegal political patronage.
“I want people’s time in city government to be about public service,” he said.
Emanuel, who is vying to replace longtime Mayor Richard M. Daley, is the front-runner in Chicago’s first mayoral race in more than 20 years without Daley on the ballot.
Casually dressed in a leather jacket and no tie, Emanuel said he’s campaigning harder than ever in the days leading up to the Feb. 22 election.
Polls show Emanuel nearing the more than 50 percent of the vote he needs to win the race in the first round and avoid a runoff.