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Mayoral candidate forum in the North Branch on Feb. 8th

North Branch Works
January 26, 2023

Please join us on February 8th from 2-4 p.m. for a mayoral candidate forum about industrial and manufacturing policy at MxD(1415 N Cherry Avenue).

To sign up at no cost, please go here. The forum is co-hosted by Manufacturing Renaissance, UIC's Chicago’s Great Cities Institute, MxD, and North Branch Works.

The purpose of this event is to learn more about each candidate’s vision for an inclusive and thriving industrial and manufacturing sector.

Dr. Teresa Córdova, Director of the Great Cities Institute, will start the program with an overview of this important sector in Chicago. We are honored to have legendary journalist Juan González, host of Democracy Now!, as our moderator.

All of the mayoral candidates have been invited to attend.  To date, the following candidates are confirmed:

  • Rep. Kam Buckner
  • Ja’Mal Green
  • Commissioner Brandon Johnson
  • Ald. Roderick Sawyer
  • Paul Vallas
  • Dr. Willie Wilson

The manufacturing and industrial sector is critically important to the long-term economic stability of Chicago and merits discussion by all candidates as:

  • Manufacturing sector represents 11% of Chicago’s GDP
  • Manufacturing wages—when you include benefits—are on average, $85,000 a year.  It is the foundation for a broad-based middle class—more so than the retail and service sector.  High wages contribute to rebuilding our city’s tax base and help to build strong, vibrant communities.
  • There are 50,000+ unfilled manufacturing jobs in the region.
  • Each manufacturing job generates 6 other jobs in the economy on average.
  • Work in manufacturing requires skill and knowledge in technology, depends on working effectively in teams, and encourages innovation. Manufacturing builds social capital—essential for our future.
  • Industrial policy impacts nearly all aspects of city life: job growth, housing affordability, neighborhood stability, sustainability, and public safety.
  • COVID related issues, tax policy, lack of trained talent, and land use policies are all challenges threatening the vibrancy of the Chicagoland manufacturing sector.

A reception will immediately follow the program featuring beer donated by Metropolitan Brewing.

Do you have a question for the candidates?  If so, please send it to Steve Simmons at

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– John Smith, CEO of a very important business