Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel left his job as White House Chief of Staff to run a broke, violence-plagued city. He has been dubbed “Mayor 1%” by his enemies for cozying up to corporations, and the “murder mayor” for closing 50 public schools, some of which were in gang-troubled neighborhoods. In this week’s TIME cover story, editor-at-large David Von Drehle writes that Chicago “has budget problems and crime problems, problems of inequality and racial division, problems of mutual suspicion and failing schools, of high unemployment and aging infrastructure. And behind it all, special interests so deeply entrenched you need spelunking gear to go after them.” Yet in spite of all those daunting challenges, Emanuel tells Von Drehle, ”This is the happiest I’ve ever been in public life. I’ve always wanted to be mayor.”
The in-depth piece delves into Emanuel’s recent success combatting Chicago’s epidemic gun violence (targeting 420 of the most troublesome men and their networks seem to be a good start); the mayor’s presidential ambitions (None, as David Von Drehle writes, “Chicago mayors are sometimes feared, sometimes scorned, sometimes investigated—but almost never promoted.”); and how Emanuel has changed from a Washington political hack to a policy wonk focused on creating STEM-heavy high school curriculums and real-world job training programs in community colleges. After Mayor Richard Daley’s more than decades in office, Emanuel is a big shift for the Windy City and, according to him, he arrived at a crucial time. “The decisions we make in the next two to three years will determine the face of Chicago for the next 20 to 30 years,” Emanuel tells TIME.
Click here to read editor-at-large David Von Drehle’s full cover story on Chicago and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, available exclusively for TIME subscribers.
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