Lowering taxes at top of list for self-made man, mayoral candidate Wilson
In Willie Wilson’s mind, Chicago's city government needs to be reined in.
“With government in Chicago right now, taxes are too high and people are losing their property,” Wilson told the Chicago City Wire. “You’ve got cars being booted everywhere and everything is about taxes, taxes, taxes. Someone has to do something and be honest with the people of this city.”
Enter the 70-year-old Wilson, who is running for mayor of Chicago amid a field of candidates that seems to grow by the day.
Wilson, a self-made millionaire businessman, said his greatest selling point is that he’s different from the career politicians now in the race.
“I’m not running for a paycheck,” Wilson said, adding that he plans to use his own money to finance his campaign. “The truth is I’m running to help all the people of this city who still do need a paycheck to be able to make a better living.”
A resident of Chicago since 1965, Wilson went from picking cotton during the Jim Crow era, making 20 cents an hour, to being one of the first black owners of a McDonald’s restaurant. He took a struggling location and turned it around within a year, earning top accolades including the Outstanding Store Award and Top Sales Performer. The restaurant's performance led to Wilson owning several around Chicago.
Wilson said his plan for Chicago starts with fostering an atmosphere of equality in every community across the city.
“People from every community need jobs and they need a fair property tax system,” he said. “Once people are able to pay their taxes and provide for themselves, that will keep crime rates down. A lot of minority communities have been completed left out of things.”
Despite never having held public office and being well aware of the city’s long held and deeply rooted financial shortcomings, Wilson said, he feels Chicago is ripe for his brand of politics.
“Doing good never grows old,” he said. “I’m motivated by the unseen power that says all mankind should be treated fairly. We should not be seen as Democrats versus Republicans, police versus citizens, rich versus poor. We all should be looking to take care of each other, and that’s what’s driving me. Call it being a servant, knowing that we must have other motivation besides earthly things.”
The Chicago mayoral election is slated for Feb. 26, with Toni Preckwinkle, Susana Mendoza, Paul Vallas, Bill Daley and Gery Chico joining Wilson among the leading candidates in the crowded field.
Wilson recently received the endorsement of the Northwest Side GOP Club (NWSGOP), with the organization describing him as a self-made businessman who believes in free enterprise. And most important of all, he says, he will use all tools available to solve Chicago’s crime epidemic, including working with state officials and the president, to secure more funding for law enforcement and neighborhood programs that protect all citizens.