Emanuel On The Road As Mayor-Elect
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UPDATED 02/23/11 11:14 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s Rahm Emanuel’s first full day as mayor-elect, and supporters were excited to see him as he got on the road Wednesday morning.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, Emanuel visited the 95th Street Red Line ‘L’ terminal Wednesday morning. Commuters getting on and off the train were shouting his name, congratulating him, and even asking for his autograph.
Donning a suit and tie under his winter jacket, Emanuel was at the ‘L’ terminal through the early morning. He has made stops there several times since announcing his run for mayor.
“Chicago as you know in the winter is a cold place, right down to the marrow of your bones,” Emanuel said. “This place, to me, is the warmest place in America, and the reception has been consistent as always.”
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But Emanuel said the real test of victory is yet to come, and that is getting children to go to good schools and ensuring Chicagoans across the city have jobs.
He also said he is ready to fill the shoes of the larger-than-life Mayor Richard M. Daley.
“I am very energized by the support we received last night throughout the city, and the opportunity to turn the page and start anew with a fresh the beginning on tackling the problems that face the City of Chicago,” Emanuel said.
Former Chicago firefighter Brian Murphy came out to the ‘L’ terminal to congratulate Emanuel, even though Murphy had been rooting for Gery Chico.
“I just hope he doesn’t cut the Fire Department and the Police Department, and I hope he’s a good mayor,” Emanuel said. “I’m very saddened that we didn’t get a great turnout.”
Earlier Wednesday morning at the Hollywood Grill, at 1601 W. North Ave. in the Wicker Park neighborhood, most remarks on Emanuel’s victory tended to be positive.
Joel Reyes is a 2007 Chicago Public Schools graduate, and he hopes Emanuel will devote attention to improving the schools.
“I feel good – I actually voted for him – so I feel pretty good; I’m confident in what he’s going to do for Chicago,” Reyes said.
As to the school system, Reyes said it is need of improvement.
“I feel like Mayor (Richard M.) Daley – I don’t want to say falling off, but I’m confident about Rahm Emanuel,” Reyes said. “Barack Obama’s behind him too, and he’s the president.”
A woman at the diner said Emanuel’s victory persents hope for the city.
“I think it’s awesome; I think he’s going to be a great mayor to take the place of Mayor Daley,” added Tiffany Bedoya. “So I think he’s going to take all the bad things that are going on in the streets right now; we need a lot of change in our neighborhoods.”
But not everyone was quite so pleased with Emanuel’s victory. Mike Westley voted for Miguel Del Valle, with a desire to elect “somebody who wasn’t as politically connected as Emanuel.”
“I’m hopefully optimistic; a little concerned,” Westley said. “Maybe it’s (Emanuel’s) political connections; I feel like we need less of that in Illinois, and Chicago in particular – not pay-to-play politics.”
For others still, reaction seemed to be lukewarm.
“I think he was the most popular candidate, and if everyone was going to vote for him. then what should happen?” said Mike Cho.
Two Chicago Police officers at the diner expressed disappointment. The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Chico, and the officers said they were surprised that he won less than a fourth of the total vote.
With 99 percent of the precincts reporting, Emanuel had 55 percent of the vote, more than double the total for Chico, who had about 24 percent. By taking more than 50 percent of the vote, Emanuel avoided a one-on-one runoff election in April with the number two candidate.
Del Valle and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun both had about 9 percent of the vote, while Patricia Van Pelt Watkins had 1.6 percent and William “Dock” Walls had less than 1 percent.
Emanuel also stopped at WVON-1690 AM and WGN-720 AM for interviews Wednesday morning, and made a stop at a firehouse.