Caption: Mayoral hopeful Dr. Willie Wilson Monday donated $1 million to his own campaign to prove he is serious about becoming Chicago’s next mayor. (Photo by Chinta Strausberg)
Caption: Dr. Willie Wilson holds his personal $1 million check he deposited into his mayoral campaign. (Photo by Chinta Strausberg)
Caption; Dr. Willie Wilson said if elected mayor he won’t be closing any schools. He vowed to sell the shuttered school buildings for $1 to interested business people who could start trade schools or other businesses he says is needed to spur economic growth in Chicago. (Photo by Chinta Strausberg)
Dr. Willie Wilson donates $1 million to his own campaign
For minimum wage, vows to reopen Meigs Field
Will bring casino to city and prayer back in school
By Chinta Strausberg
Proving that he is serious about becoming the next mayor of Chicago, Dr. Willie Wilson Monday deposited a $1 million check from his personal account into his own mayoral campaign saying the mayor and his police chief “have got to go” and vowed to spur economic development by reopening Meigs Field, restore prayer and trades into the schools, fight for an elected school board and term limits.
Wilson made his remarks during a press conference held at the BMO Harris Bank Headquarters, 111 West Monroe St., where he was joined by Rev. Greg Livingston, his campaign manager, his PR director, Tracey Alston, his PR director and his sister, Dale Wilson.
“I am not in this race for salary,” Wilson told a battery of reporters. “I don’t want anything out of this. I’m in here to help the community.” Wilson pledged to give his mayoral salary to black churches and already gives away his Social Security checks to the poor and seniors who cannot pay their utilities.
If elected, Dr. Wilson said he would ensure that “all citizens will have a right to have equal opportunity for jobs and contracts….
We want to be fair to everybody. There should not be a segregated city. We should be integrated together.” He emphasized reopening Meigs Field would create jobs and economic growth as will bringing a casino to Chicago. Wilson vowed to reopen the schools for trades or to sell the buildings for $1 to create their own businesses. “I am not for major corporations taking all the money. They’ve got to share,” he said vowing to create a citizens review board in each community to oversee” his proposals and to ensure equal opportunity prevails for jobs and contracts. He said this would eliminate the elite racking in major funds.
But one issue that is close to his heart is public safety. Dr. Wilson talked about his 20-year-old son, Omar Wilson, who was killed over drugs after gangbangers busted into his suburban home. Wilson, who is founder and CEO of the $60-million-a-year Omar Medical Supplies launched in 1997, and the Willie Wilson Productions, begun in 1987 that began the first nationally syndicated gospel show, named his medical company, that makes rubber gloves, after his late son.
“Public safety is very dear to my heart. You never forget about kids when you lose them…,” he said explaining the deaths of a mother, a father… “That is a totally different experience.”
Wilson, 66, who began mopping floors at a McDonald Restaurant and later owned four of those restaurants, said he has 13 employees in the Chicagoland area and that he pays them each more than $100,000. He has Omar distribution facilities in Nashville, TN, Woodridge, IL, Santa Fe Springs, CA, New Jersey and NY, NY but explained that the gloves he buys are made in China. Wilson does not know how much the Chinese are paid but he follows “the same rules and regulations the U.S. follow. They buy gloves from China…. Everybody’s clothes are from China. We have to be fair. This is a global economy….”
In explaining why he does business with China, Dr. Wilson said five-years ago he invested in a medical supply glove manufacturer in Tennessee. ” It was the only one in the United States. We lost $5 million. The U.S. says buy America, but we couldn’t even sell our gloves to the government.
“There is one place in the world that sells gloves and that is in China” where Wilson said gave him more tax breaks. Referring to his Tennessee plant, Wilson closed it down but to make up for his losses, he said, “we took over the distribution of Chicago, NY, LA and one in Tennessee.
Wilson does sub-contract some of his work out to other diverse businesses as an entrepreneurial incentive for companies.
When asked if he supported the increase in the minimum wage, Wilson said he did; however, he also wants contracts and jobs. “We won’t need minimum wages at that point.” Wilson said under this administration contracts for people of color “is way down.”
“People don’t want minimum wages,” said Wilson. “People want to make more than minimum wage.” “When minimum wages go up, you’re going to pay more. I want contracts and jobs for our citizens so they can make way more than minimum wages. I also support minimum wages” but an increase in minimum wages along with contracts.
As a testimony, F. Scott Winslow, CEO of several hospitals in
Chicago, said, “Wilson opened a glove factory here in the U.S. to try to bring those jobs back…” and lost $5 million. “China subsidizes their companies and you don’t have an even playing field. You cannot get a competitive advantage in certain manufacturing sectors because of this state sponsorship of corporations. We don’t do that here in the U.S. Wilson has done the next best thing. He has taken the distribution the sub-contracts and made sure those were passed out in a liberal and correct basis that everyone had a fair chance….”
Wilson is not satisfied with how the mayor is handling the crime problem and said, “The superintendent of police has to go but the mayor has to go first. Public safety is a serious concern as well as education…,” he said vowing to change how Chicago is run.
Saying while he intends to change how Chicago is run business-wise, Wilson said that includes term limits. “If you’re in there a couple of times, get rid of you so you ain’t got your friends over and over again. So, just get rid of you….
“Being fair to all citizens is what this whole thing is about,” Wilson said. He vowed to show “a more human side of me…equality, compassion, friendliness….” When told that compassion and friendliness are good words, he was asked how would he balance a budget since he is proposing to spend more money to reorganize police and schools.
“We are working on that now,” Wilson explained. As a businessman, Wilson said his job is to make a profit. “I’ve been in business for 30 years.”
Referring to the casinos that are located near Chicago, Wilson said, “If you look on those car stickers, those are citizens from Chicago but we are not getting the revenue, the tax dollars. Why not open up one here in the city of Chicago? That would bring you revenue, jobs and contracts.”
He vowed to lower the taxes citing gas taxes as an example. Wilson said they are too high and they force people out of the city to purchase this product. He also said he would lower the parking fees to be more competitive; therefore increasing business in Chicago.
Wilson said he would take 75 percent of the policemen out of their cars and let them walk the streets, ride the L’s and the CTA. That, he said, will save a lot of money in fuel and mechanical bills. “If I or a citizen can walk and the citizen walk and it’s cold out there and they are paying the police officers, they (officers) should be cold too.”
“Higher taxes run people out,” Wilson said vowing to conduct a survey to see where the changes that negatively impact Chicagoans should be made.
Wilson again demanded that the mayor apologize for saying 80 percent of his petitions were bad. “I am a law abiding citizen,” he said. Referring to the mayor, Wilson said, “He made false accusations without any proof…. He owes the 47,000 citizens and me an apology…. Why won’t he apologize?”
In just a few days, Wilson said he had amassed 55,000 signatures but threw out 6,000 because they were bad. “We went well over the requirement of (12,500) needed to get on the ballot.”
Holding up a check he wrote for $1 million along with the deposit slip, Wilson said, “That is why today I am writing a check and depositing it into my own campaign for $1 million. I’m serious. We’re going to win this race…. We are going to have an integrated city where all citizens can learn about one another.”
Wilson’s TV and radio stations will hit the airwaves Tuesday. He vowed to make media buys from black, white and Hispanic media outlets. “We’re going to be fair. I have to lead by example….”
When asked what is the message he is trying to convey, Dr. Wilson said, “I am a better man than Rahm Emanuel. I won’t close the schools….”
When asked if he had done any fundraising, Wilson said no; however, on April 19, 2015 at the House of Hope, Dr. Wilson is holding a “Renew the Dream 2015,” event beginning at 6 p.m., according to Wilson’s campaign manager, Rev. Greg Livingston. It will include a voter registration drive. Saying he is expecting 15,000 people to attend, Livingston added, “It will be the biggest King day celebration in the city.”
Livingston said the rally coincides with the airing of “Selma,” a picture illustrating the ups and downs of the Civil rights movement starring David Oyelowo who portrays Dr. King.
Livingston said, “All of this is coming together where we have this man who had to fight to get on the ballot because the machine created a high number it knew the average person could never get to in terms of getting on the ballot. This becomes a celebration of victory because we are going to renew the dream in 2015….”
When asked if Rev. James Meeks, who heads the House of Hope, is one of his supporters, Wilson told reporters, “I haven’t asked anybody to support me personally because I don’t know how indebted anybody out there is with this mayor, and I don’t want to mess up nobody’s livelihood. We will renew the dream in 2015.”
Wilson later greeted Blue Line passengers in Jefferson Park.