The protesters calling on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign are getting a boost from two Democrats in Springfield, Illinois.
State Rep. LaShawn Ford, who just introduced a bill to create a process to recall the mayor, said his “goal is to give power to the people.”
“Rahm Emanuel was surprised by some of things happening in the city,” he told MSNBC Thursday, "and you can’t be surprised in your second term as a mayor.”
Ford said the protesters in Chicago could create the momentum to get his new bill a vote. “When I see protests, if that spirit continues, this bill will go through,” he said, adding citizens “have lost all trust in the mayor.”
Many of the protests have focused on Emanuel — with placards stating, “Rahm, resign” — as well as on criticism of Chicago Prosecutor Anita Alvarez.
Ford's main cosponsor, Rep. Mary Flowers, said state law should be amended so there is a way to hold any mayor accountable. “This is not a racial issue, it’s a democracy issue,” she said Thursday.
Flowers was confident the proposal would get a vote in the state assembly, even if many Democratic politicians may conceivably be partial to Emanuel. “I expect the bill to get a vote, I expect the bill to be heard,” she said, adding that she expects it to be signed into law.
“The mayor seems to have lost his way with his arrogance, his obnoxiousness,” Flowers said. “This is the people's house — this is not Rahm Emanuel’s house.”
While an effort to recall Emanuel would have seemed unthinkable after his re-election earlier this year, the effort is serious enough that his office felt compelled to address it for the first time Thursday.
"We understand there's a desire by some to insert politics into this discussion, but the mayor's focus is not on his own personal politics,” said a new statement from Emanuel’s office. “His focus is on the residents of this city and finally and fully addressing the issue of police accountability, which has challenged Chicago for decades. He is energized by the challenge in front of us.”