The 2023 Disability Mayoral Candidates' Forum + Voter Resources


Voter Resources: Chicago Mayoral/Aldermanic Election

The Candidates by the Issues: Breakdowns of the candidates by their top priorities

Polling Places

The 2023 Disability Mayoral Candidates’ Forum

Event Recording and Transcript Available

On Saturday, January 7, 2023, Access Living hosted a hybrid candidates’ forum with seven of the candidates in the Chicago mayoral race. Members of the disability community heard from the candidates themselves about the issues most pressing to people with disabilities in the City of Chicago.

Approximately 10% of Chicagoans identify as a person with a disability, and the Mayor’s Office plays an important role in the policies that impact us most and our ability to live independently in our communities.

Event agenda

  • Start – Recording begins at 14:30
  • Opening Remarks
  • Overview of event format
  • Candidate opening statements
  • Candidate questions
  • Candidate closing statements
  • Event ends

Speakers & Candidates

Emcee: Andrés J. Gallegos
Opening Remarks: Karen Tamley

  • Kam Buckner
  • Chuy García
  • Ja’Mal Green
  • Brandon Johnson
  • Sophia King
  • Lori Lightfoot
  • Paul Vallas

The Impact of the Mayor’s Office on People with Disabilities

The Mayor’s Office has a direct impact on disability-related services in Chicago, such as oversight of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, and makes essential decisions regarding transportation, social support programs, economic initiatives, policing, immigration policy, housing, and more.

Forum Media Coverage

  • ABC7 – “Chicago mayor candidates participate in forum on disability issues as they look for support, votes”
  • CBS Chicago – First Chicago mayoral candidate forum of the year focuses on helping people with disabilities
  • Chicago Sun-Times – “Lightfoot bears brunt of criticism at mayoral candidate forum on issues affecting disabled Chicagoans”
  • Chicago Tribune – “Lightfoot, García make first appearances at mayoral candidate forum”
  • NBC Chicago – “Chicago Mayoral Candidates Face Off at Forum Focusing On Issues Affecting the Disabled Community”
  • The TRiiBE – Forum highlights
  • WBBM News Radio – “Chicago mayoral candidates outline plans to bring accessibility to local affordable housing”
  • WGN – “7 Mayoral candidates pitch platforms to accommodate disabilities”
  • WTTW – “Chicago Mayoral Race Finalized With 9 Candidates, as Debates Begin and Police Union Backs Vallas”

Which Chicago Mayoral Candidates were Invited to the Forum?

Invitations to participate went to all candidates who filed petitions with the Chicago Board of Elections. In order to attend the forum, each candidate was required to fill out a series of questions specific to disability issues. The candidates who attended the forum and their responses to the disability questionnaire are listed below.

Headshot of Kam Buckner

Kam Buckner – Illinois House of Representatives, 26th District

Disability Questionnaire Responses:

Kam Buckner campaign website

Chuy García- U.S. Representative, Illinois’ 4th District

Disability Questionnaire Responses:

Chuy Garcia campaign website

Chuy Garcia, a middle-aged man wearing a suit and tie, waves at a crowd holding campaign signs with his name on them.

Headshot of Ja'Mal Green

Ja’Mal Green – Neighborhood Advocate, Entrepreneur

Disability Questionnaire Responses:

Ja’Mal Green campaign website

Brandon Johnson – Cook County Commissioner, 1st District

Disability Questionnaire Responses:

Brandon Johnson campaign website

head shot of Brandon Johnson

Headshot of Sophia King

Sophia King – Chicago Alderman, 4th Ward

Disability Questionnaire Responses:

Sophia King campaign website

Lori Lightfoot – Mayor of Chicago

Disability Questionnaire Responses:

Lori Lightfoot campaign website

Head shot, Lori Lightfoot

Head shot of Paul Vallas

Paul Vallas – Education and Public Finance Expert

Disability Questionnaire Responses:

Paul Vallas campaign website

Thank you to the sponsors and partners who have helped make this event possible!