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State Rep. Kam Buckner is running for mayor

Crain's Chicago Business

Friday, May 13, 2022  |  Article  |  Justin Laurence

Appointed to his seat in 2019 and re-elected in 2020, state Rep. Kam Buckner represents a lakefront district stretching from Hyde Park to the Gold Coast.

State Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, is running for mayor, hoping to claim the progressive mantle in the race.

Appointed to his seat in 2019 and re-elected in 2020, Buckner represents a lakefront district stretching from Hyde Park to the Gold Coast.

Buckner, 37, has been critical of Mayor Lori Lightfoot in recent months, saying money spent on gas price relief should have been spent instead on improvements to the Chicago Transit Authority. He told the Sun-Times Lightfoot “has a personality that a lot of folks don’t like” that derails her policy agenda.

In a recent interview with Crain’s, Buckner said Chicago residents “don’t feel safe” and gave Lightfoot and Police Superintendent David Brown a grade of “incomplete” on the issue of crime.

“I talk to rank-and-file police officers; I talked to folks who are former police officers who are family members of mine who once again feel like there's not the support from the administration, but also feel like there is no plan,” he said.

Lightfoot has not formally launched her re-election campaign, but is expected to do so in the coming weeks. She is in Texas today raising campaign cash.

As he was considering a run, Buckner raised $110,763 in campaign cash in the first quarter, relying on big-dollar donations from labor unions, including $35,000 from Chicago Laborers' District Council PAC and $34,500 from Chicago Land Operators Joint-Labor Management PAC, according to state campaign finance reports.

He spent almost as much as he collected—$105,889—with the majority—$66,000—going to Fortress Consulting, a branding agency. Buckner ended the quarter with $173,813 cash on hand.

Buckner cut his political teeth as an aide to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. He played football at the University of Illinois after starring for Morgan Park High School and received a law degree from DePaul University.

Buckner joins Ald. Ray Lopez, 15th, and Willie Wilson in the race. It’s expected to be crowded field before the November deadline for candidates to file their petition paperwork. The election will be Feb. 28, 2023.