5 debates in 5 days; candidates end busy week

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CHICAGO — It’s been more than a year since the first candidates entered the race for Chicago mayor. For the final two candidates, the long, winding road ends in four days.

Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot met Friday night in the fifth debate in five days.

The candidates again tried to point out their differences.

Preckwinkle highlighted her career in public service.

“Change is not easy. It takes hard work. It takes experience and being mayor is not an entry level job,” she said.

Lightfoot challenged the same old same old.

“I think we have a historic opportunity to vote for change. To speak our values. To make sure that we break from the status quo and a past that has failed us,” ,” she said.

On education both candidates said CPS needs more money and they both want to bring back the department of environment.

They both say daycare is too expensive.

And they both agree there is too much mistrust between the public and police.

Lightfoot got the evening’s first round of applause when she went “deep on potholes” and said it was just an example of how poor communities are cheated.

“The black and brown communities are not going to be starved,” she said.  “(We will) hold alderman accountable.”

Preckwinkle hammered home her experience in city council calling herself part of the loyal opposition, saying she voted against the parking ticket deal.

“This deal was a nightmare for the people for the city of Chicago,” she said. “(There was a) loss of potential revenue.”

It’s been a busy week leading up to the debate.

Preckwinkle’s re-emerged on the airwaves with a campaign commercial that reference Lightfoot’s involvement in the aftermath of a 2004 fire that killed four children.

Some critics called it tasteless.

Friday, Preckwinkle said she’s just trying to point out a contrast between her own public service and Lightfoot’s career.

“I’m proud of the campaign we ran and the work we’ve done,” she said.

Lightfoot announced a plan for what she says is a broken system in Chicago - that low-income residents and people of color are being unfairly targeted by fines and fees. It includes a full review of the red light camera program and the criteria the city uses to put a boot on a car.

Lightfoot also got a key endorsement Friday from the hospitality workers union Unite Here Local (1).

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