"On my first day as Mayor of this great city, I promised to make difficult decisions and face the harsh truths we had not confronted, even when it hurts. Every day for the past seven and a half years, that's what I did the best I could. : improve our schools, make our community colleges relevant, put our fiscal house on a stable footing, face violence and rebuild trust between the police and the community, modernize our transportation systems, invest in our parks and libraries neighborhood and make our economy become an engine of jobs and opportunity for all, I am not shy, and together we have never avoided a challenge.
Today is the time to make another difficult choice. As much as I love this job and I will always love this city and its residents, I have decided not to seek re-election.
This has been the work of a lifetime, but it is not a job for life. You hire us to do things, and we pass the torch when we have done everything possible to do what you have hired us.
I have approached public service in the only way I know how during the last 23 years: to give 100 percent, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for President Clinton, in Congress and in his leadership, as President Obama's chief of staff and finally as his mayor
During the last seven and a half years I have given everything and left everything in the field. This commitment has required a significant sacrifice on all sides. Now, with our three children in college, Amy and I have decided that it is time for us to write a new chapter together.
In a few moments, I'll talk to my cabinet and tell them to prepare to run to the finish line in May. We have more things to do, and from now on, we will do everything in our power to do it and go out the door hoping to leave Chicago and Chicago in a stronger place. We will be ready and willing to work with whoever is lucky enough to come later and ensure a smooth and positive transition. Nothing less.
But today I want to thank the people of Chicago for the opportunity to serve. It will fill my eyes with tears as I leave a job I love, and my heart is full of gratitude. We have worked together. We have celebrated the progress together. We have grieved together. Amy and I made friends in this city that will last a lifetime.
I want to thank Amy for being such a remarkable First Lady. We have been together for 27 years.
When we got married, I told him I would never apply for a position. Six elections later, she's the only reason I've come this far.
We are blessed with three great children, and I owe them a lot too. Politicians always say that they are leaving office to spend more time with their family. My children were smart enough to see it coming and spread to both coasts, so from the other day we are now nested.
Amy and I are still young, and Amy still sees it. And we hope to write that next chapter on our trip together.
I will always be here for the future of this city, not as mayor, but in the most important role that anyone can play, as a citizen. I hope to find ways to respond to the call that I asked each citizen: do my part to defend the next generation, who deserve the doors of the opportunity to be open and the spark of hope to enlighten their eyes.
I thank my parents for igniting that spark in me. And I want to thank my grandfather, who at the age of 13, risked a century ago immigrating here from Eastern Europe, fleeing the pogroms, to meet a third cousin he did not know in a city whose name he could not pronounce .
In four races of Congress on the North and Northwest sides, and in two races for Mayor, you cast aside the old story and voted for a Jewish boy with the middle name, Israel. I will always be deeply grateful for that and what it means to my family.
This morning, as we began a new school year, I attended Bronzeville Classical to welcome the students again for the start of a new school year and to the Pérez Elementary School to mark the inauguration of a full-time pre-k university in Chicago. The changes we have made in our school system: universal full-day pre-kindergarten, universal kindergarten, and a longer school day and school year will equal nearly four more years of class time for Chicago students. At the end of the day, what matters most in public life is four more years for our children, not four more years for me.
Together, since May 2011, despite everything, we try to do the right thing for the future of our city. No matter how difficult the road, we never hesitate or shrink from our responsibilities. And I will never forget the honor that has been serving with you to the people of Chicago every step of the way.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. God bless you. And God bless the people of Chicago & # 39;