Future Now Plan

Future Now Plan Susana A. Mendoza

Introduction

Chicago needs a mayor who is concerned about the next generation, not just the next four years. This is no time for a caretaker mayor or someone who represents the status quo. We need to prepare Chicago for the jobs of the future, not just focus on the past.

The big issues that Chicagoans face — violent crime, high property taxes, improving schools — those are issues I have dealt with my whole life. It’s time to have a mayor who is from the neighborhood, who understands neighborhoods and puts neighborhoods first. I’m excited to work with all Chicagoans. To that end, my Future Now Plan starts with my vision to make our streets safer, improve schools in every neighborhood, create economic growth across the city, and lay out a fiscal path that moves away from taxing seniors and families who can least afford it. As the campaign unfolds, I will add to the Future Now Plan my ideas on housing, transportation, and health.

I did not invent all of these ideas from scratch on my own. I’ve listened to neighbors and experts from across the city to frame a future that makes Chicago work for everyone. Many ideas build on existing programs here in Chicago or borrow from plans that are working in other cities.

The next mayor still will have to tackle serious fiscal challenges without adding to the burden of already hard-pressed homeowners. Having led the state through the worst fiscal crisis in its history, I feel well qualified to lead that effort.

Read my plan and let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

I look forward to adding the best feedback to my Future Now Plan, so we can shape Chicago’s future together.

PUBLIC SAFETY AND POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY

Susana Mendoza was born in Little Village on Chicago’s Southwest side to Mexican immigrants. When she was 7 years old, a gang-related murder on the block where she lived drove her parents to leave Chicago. It wasn’t her choice to leave, but it was her choice to come back after she finished school. Susana vowed to return after graduating college to tackle the related issues of violence, education and economic opportunity, and she’s been working to help those in the community she grew up in ever since. Susana’s public safety plan aims to ensure that no family has to leave their neighborhood because they don’t feel safe.

As a child from a neighborhood victimized by violence and as the sister of a police detective, Susana sees this issue from a unique perspective that no other candidate for mayor possesses. To address today’s levels of violence and build trust between police and the communities they serve, Susana has a comprehensive strategy that tackles the systemic issues of economic disinvestment, institutional racism, criminal justice inequality, and segregation. Too often, we address these problems when it is too late rather than proactively solving the problem.

Susana’s plan takes a holistic view of the crime problem — not just hiring more police, but attacking the root causes of violence by investing in at-risk youth and returning citizens.

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Future Now Plan Public Safety Susana A. Mendoza

A STRONG PUBLIC EDUCATION FOR ALL CHICAGOANS

As the parent of a 6-year-old attending a neighborhood public school, Susana is deeply and personally invested in the future of Chicago public education. Susana wants parents, grandparents, and teachers to have more of a voice in our schools, and she wants the next mayor to share accountability for improving schools. For too long, education policy has been something done to our communities and done to our families, not worked out with our parents and with our teachers. As mayor, Susana will change that.

Access to a quality education is the bedrock of a strong city. Our most pressing problems — from high crime rates to lack of jobs and economic development — can be addressed by ensuring strong neighborhood schools that create opportunity hubs in every community. We should be proud of the success achieved by CPS teachers and administrators, with record-high graduation rates, higher test scores, the largest IB network in the nation, and stabilized finances. But our real work has just begun. We must ensure every child in every community receives the same high-quality education at their neighborhood school.

Susana’s education plan is built around a simple goal: to close the achievement gap. Susana believes that we can cut the achievement gap by half in the next eight years and set Chicago Public Schools on a path to eliminate it entirely.

While some simply look to the next 50 schools that can be closed, Susana’s 50NEW (Neighborhood Education Works) Initiative is focused on doubling down on the neediest schools by expanding wrap-around services, increasing the number of social workers, and investing in school-based supports in high-poverty schools. Where buildings are underutilized, she will work to put unused space to use by offering subsidized rent to local nonprofits so that our schools become true community hubs.

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Future Now Plan Education Susana A. Mendoza

INCLUSIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH

Decades of discriminatory policies on the federal, state, and local level have created communities suffering from disenfranchisement and disinvestment with little opportunity to build long-term wealth and prosperity. According to a study from the University of Illinois at Chicago, inequality in Chicago has been growing over the past 40 years, and the number of concentrated areas where wealthy individuals live, especially on the North Side of the city, has quadrupled. Meanwhile, we continue to see the expansion of areas that are low-income with high poverty rates on the South and West sides of the city.

For the first time, Chicago is on firmer financial footing to tackle these issues. To ensure every neighborhood in the city thrives, especially those with high rates of poverty, Susana will prioritize strategies that ensure investments and job creation focus on these communities by leveraging the rapid downtown growth to bring more resources and investment to neighborhoods suffering from low opportunity.

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Future Now Plan Inclusive Economic Growth Susana A. Mendoza

FIXING CITY FINANCES WHILE PROTECTING WORKING FAMILIES

As State Comptroller, Susana led the state through the worst fiscal crisis in its history, helped to calm the markets and prioritized funding for the people that needed it the most. As the next mayor, she will draw on those experiences to lead Chicago forward. Unfunded pension obligations, structural deficits and inadequate education funding will require the next mayor to exercise discipline while raising hundreds of millions of dollars in new sources of revenue from a tax-strapped population. Susana will work to put our city’s pension funds on a sounder footing — ensuring that the city lives up to its promise to hundreds of thousands of first responders, teachers, and city employees — without balancing the budget on the backs of working-class families.

There is no magic solution. A comprehensive and fair fiscal strategy will require the next mayor to use multiple tools — from cutting expenses, to finding efficiencies, to fighting for Chicago’s fair share in Springfield. Susana’s plan is built on her experience at the city and state level, her understanding of the stresses faced by families in Chicago’s neighborhoods, and her record of lowering costs before asking taxpayers to pay more. This unique combination of discipline, relationships, and neighborhood values will guide all fiscal decisions while ensuring Chicago remains a competitive business environment.

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Future Now Plan Progressive Revenue Susana A. Mendoza
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