Reform, once avoided, now embraced in Chicago mayor’s race

CHICAGO (AP) — Reform is not a concept Chicago candidates typically embrace in a city known for its patronage.

But corruption charges against a powerful alderman and a court-ordered consent decree aimed at eliminating police misconduct has placed the word on the lips of many of the 14 people running for mayor.

The veteran politicians, businessmen, former prosecutors and community activists will face off in a Feb. 26 election to succeed retiring Mayor Rahm Emanuel. If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two will face off April 2.

The variety of candidates reflects the many issues facing Chicago’s next mayor besides corruption: a need for investment in the city’s poorer neighborhoods, overwhelming pension debt, low-performing public schools and a crime rate often pointed to as among the nation’s worst.

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