Michigan Avenue Magazine’s April/May issue features one of the city's most sought after CHI-lebrities: Chicago’s mayor and Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. CHI-lebrity just received a sneak peek at the mag before it goes on sale this weekend where Rahm opens up about why he loves the city, what he hopes to accomplish as mayor, the issues that are important to him and what his parents have taught him and instilled in him from a young age. Emmanuel also discusses everything from his family, including famous Hollywood power agent Ari Emmanuel (the real-live inspiration behind Ari Gold on TV show Entourage) to why he values his job as mayor, while offering an in-depth look with never before documented photos of him commuting on the L to work.
Check out this exclusive preview of his interview below!
Emanuel discusses his passion for important issues, such as education, and how he hopes to make changes as mayor of Chicago:
“Look,” he says, “I am passionate about getting things done that I believe in. Nobody asked me to come here and keep the status quo. I ran on change. I’m trying to make change happen. It is tough. On education and safety, I will not allow, when we know what we need to do, politics to prevent us.” He continues later saying, “I’m driven by, to quote Dr. Martin Luther King and his speech on the Mall, the ‘fierce urgency of now.’ I cannot wait another year and allow a child to be caught in a school system that for five years running has been on the watch list with no prospect of getting off it. I understand the noise around change. I’m sensitive to it. But I also can’t stand by and watch the silence—which is deafening—of failure.”
Emanuel’s reveals why he loves his job as mayor and the biggest misperceptions people can have about politicians.
“The thing that gives me pause about this job,” he says, “is when I was campaigning, you’d be out at an L stop and there are kids with nothing in their eyes—a look I would never accept from my own children. And I think about your story, where kids can see the promise of downtown Chicago and it’s not in the same zip code. It’s not in the same city.” He continues later saying, “ I love this job. I think it’s the greatest job I ever had. I really mean it. But I’m at a point in my career that the job is not more important to me than doing what I think is right. It’s not. And I will do what I think I need to get done for the children of the city of Chicago.” One of those things is making sure their city is pulling its weight.” He addresses people’s typical notions of politicians and his job later saying: “People have a cynical view of politicians. We’re up in the box seats, we’re in a limo, we have all these benefits that come with the job and we exploit them. There ain’t nothing more street-level—except for it’s elevated—than the L”
Emanuel talks about why Chicago is a such a great town both personally and economically:
“Besides being the most American of American cities,” he says, “ we are the only inland city with an international economic footprint because of geography and transportation. We have major Fortune 100 companies based here that have international economic footprints. Our exports are actually growing. And if I can move us from 10 to nine, that’s a billion-three (dollars). You got another billion-three you wanna lend me? Okay, I’ve gotta take it from tourists.”… “When people arrive (to Chicago) they go, ‘Wow, what an incredible jewel,’ So I’m supposed to deny people the chance to see what we all know to be true?”
Emanuel discusses his parents early days as immigrants in the cities and how they influenced him:
“My father, settled here in 1959, grew up here. My father barely spoke English when he started practicing medicine,” he says. “There’s a bit of an immigrant culture instilled. On my family wall are the pictures of relatives who never made it to this country. There’s nothing subtle in a Jewish family. It’s my mother and father’s way of reminding us: You’re here, it’s fortunate, others never made it, don’t screw it up or we’ll beat the hell outta ya. And they drove us to do something with our lives.”