Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - Rahm Emanuel greeted voters on Chicago's South Side Wednesday morning – the day after his resounding victory to become the city's next mayor.
His choice of an "L" train station in the heart of the city's African American community symbolized his successful efforts to reach out to that community during his campaign. He captured about half of the votes in wards with large populations of African-Americans in Tuesday's election.
"I am very energized by the support we received last night throughout the city and the opportunity to turn the page and start anew with a fresh beginning on tackling the problems that face the city of Chicago," he told reporters Wednesday morning.
Several leading African-American leaders in the city, including Rev. Jesse Jackson, supported of one of Emanuel's opponents- former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley Braun. Jackson told CNN earlier this week that Emanuel did not have a good track record of supporting issues important to African Americans - a contention Emanuel dismisses.
Emanuel captured more than 55 percent of the vote in the nonpartisan election, thereby avoiding a runoff. Election turnout for Tuesday's contest is estimated at 40-45 percent - lower than expected, which possibly aided Emanuel, along with the well-funded and large campaign organization he had put into place.
Asked about his ability to reach across a city with a history of racial divisions, Emanuel said, "Do we have differences – yes. But we cannot and will not allow them to become points of division and divisive."
"What I am heartened by, energized by, and ready to tackle the problems with is that we received great support throughout the city because people know these challenges are common challenges," he said, pointing to his campaign priorities of crime, bolstering schools and stabilizing Chicago's economy - which is facing a budget deficit of at least $500 million and a shortfall of about the same amount in the city's pension system.
Emanuel will take the oath of office on May 16 replacing Richard Daley, who took office in 1989 and was the city's longest-serving mayor.
Yeah, go Rom!!!! Glad to see you made it!
Clearly this is a mandate from the American people in support of healthcare. ( see how silly that sounds on the other foot)
i hope he can do something about the murders on the south side....gangs have taken over there...
Congrats Rahm. As an African-American, I believe that your priorities are in the right place. I'm not from Chicago, but I sure know that gangs and crime are a big deal there now. If you are intent on fighting that fight, you have my full support.
To put this criminal as mayor is like putting Capone in office. After they indict him for stealing money or some other wiseguy antics then we will cheer. You have no one but yourself to blame Chicago citizens. May you rot in hell for putting this hoodlum in office.
GO MR. MAYOR! When you're done over there, how about coming to Los Angeles and helping us out. God knows we need someone like you over here.
Congratulations, Mayor Emanuel!!!!!!
Good for you Emmanuel!
Really that what you think? what evidence do you have to support your conclusion?
And congrats to you Chicago!!!!! You've elected another slimeball into office!!!!
Glad to see Chicago's corupt political establishment remains alive and well.
Joe, Joe, Joe, you are so misinformed about Rahm's victory. The first thing you need to do is "read" the bio of those Rahm defeated and you wouldn't vote for them.
Rahm, don't end up with cement shoes, though you deserve them
Congratulations to the new mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel.
Sour grapes " Joe ". Stop paying attention to talk radio and maybe you will learn something.
Chicago and Illinois deserve the disaster they are in. They keep electing these corrupt union lackeys and expect things to improve? Completely brain dead...
Congrats to Emanuel