Reprint from Brandon Johnson (politician) – Wikipedia

Brandon Johnson (born 1976 or 1977)[1] is an American politician from Illinois. A member of the Democratic Party, Johnson serves on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, representing the 1st district. Johnson defeated incumbent Commissioner Richard Boykin in the Democratic primary election in March 2018; he won the general election unopposed and was re-elected in 2022. In the 2023 election for mayor of Chicago, he won the second-most votes in the first round on February 28, and will face Paul Vallas in the April 4 runoff election.

Early life and career

Johnson was born in Elgin, Illinois.[1] He earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Services, Youth Development Programming, and Management and a master’s degree in Teaching from Aurora University. He was a social studies teacher at Jenner Academy Elementary and George Westinghouse College Prep, both part of the Chicago Public Schools system.[2] He became an organizer with the Chicago Teachers Union in 2011, and helped organize the 2012 Chicago teachers strike.[3] He also helped lead field campaigns during the 2015 Chicago mayoral and aldermanic elections.[2][3]

Cook County Commissioner (2018–present)

Johnson ran against incumbent Richard Boykin in the 2018 election for the Cook County Board of Commissioner’s 1st district. He was endorsed by a number of labor organizations and progressive advocacy groups, including the Chicago Teachers Union, Grassroots Illinois Action, Our Revolution, and SEIU Locals 1 and 73.[4] He was also endorsed by Cook County Board of Commissioners President Toni Preckwinkle.[5] He won the Democratic Party primary election on March 20, 2018, defeating Boykin by 0.8 percentage points (437 votes), and ran unopposed in the general election on November 6, 2018.[6] Johnson was sworn in as a Cook County commissioner on December 3, 2018.[7]

He was the chief sponsor of the Just Housing Ordinance, which amended the county’s housing ordinance by prohibiting potential landlords or property owners from asking about or considering prospective tenants’ or homebuyers’ criminal history.[8] The ordinance was passed in April 2019.[9][10]

In October 2019, Johnson spoke at a solidarity rally supporting striking teachers and support staff during the 2019 Chicago Public Schools Strike, and wrote supportive letters to editor in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.[11][12][13] Johnson works as a paid organizer for CTU, focusing on legislative affairs.[8] Politico’s Illinois Playbook reported after the strike that Johnson was rumored as a potential mayoral candidate in the 2023 election; Johnson responded by calling the rumors “laughable” and criticizing the publication for making a connection between the strike and his electoral career.[8] In November 2019, Johnson wrote an essay in a CTU publication drawing a distinction between the union’s organizing model and “top-down school governance.”[14][15]

Johnson endorsed Toni Preckwinkle ahead of the first round of the 2019 Chicago mayoral election.[16] In August 2019, Johnson endorsed the candidacy of Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries. Johnson claimed that he came to his decision on who to endorse after having conversations with Warren and other contenders in the election, including Bernie Sanders. He praised Warren as “the only candidate who took a special interest in black progressive voices.”[17]

Johnson was reelected in 2022.[18]

2023 Chicago mayoral election

Main article: 2023 Chicago mayoral election

On September 13, 2022, Johnson launched an exploratory committee to consider running for mayor of Chicago in the 2023 election.[19] In subsequent weeks, he received endorsements from United Working Families,[20] the Chicago Teachers Union,[21] and progressive independent political organizations in the 30th, 33rd, 35th, and 39th wards.[22] On October 23, the American Federation of Teachers pledged to donate $1 million to Johnson’s campaign should he enter the race.[22] On October 27, Johnson formally announced his candidacy.[20][23][24][25]

Johnson has been described as a “progressive” and a favored “candidate of the left.”[26][27][28] His campaign has emphasized funding and resources for public schools,[29] a public safety platform that includes efficiency audits and non-police responses to mental health emergencies,[30] support for a real estate transfer tax to fund homelessness response and prevention,[29] and a budget that proposes raising $1 billion in new revenues through a city income tax on high earners, a financial transaction tax, and other new proposals.[31]

In the first round of the election on February 28, Johnson placed second with about 20.3% of the vote and advanced to the runoff election on April 4, where he will face Paul Vallas.[32][33][34]

Personal life

Johnson lives in the Austin neighborhood on the west side of Chicago with his wife, Stacie, and their three children.[1][2]


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