CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–February 23, 2011. A buoyant Rahm Emanuel spent his first morning as mayor-elect of Chicago in what he called the warmest spot in the city — shaking hands and collecting hugs while greeting commuters at a South Side Chicago Transit Authority train station.
The former White House chief of staff won 55 percent of the vote Tuesday to avoid a runoff and become Chicago’s next mayor.
During his fifth trip in recent months to the 95th Street Red Line station, Emanuel on Wednesday greeted commuters as people snapped cell phone pictures and yelled out their congratulations.
“As I said last night, Chicago can be known sometimes during the winter as a cold place right down to the marrow of your bones,” Emanuel said. “This to me is the warmest place in America and the reception here has been consistent as always both through very cold days and bitterly cold days. And I am very energized by the support we received last night throughout the city.”
Commuters seemed energized by Emanuel as well, lining up to shake his hands or, in the case of Acquanetta Jackson, give him a big hug.
“I’m a hugger and I’m glad he won,” said Jackson of Bronzeville. “We’ve got to keep the city strong. I think he’s going to be great for the city.”
While she couldn’t yet rate Emanuel’s performance as Chicago’s top leader, she did say she was impressed by his full embrace.
“I felt like it was a real hug,” she said.
Pamela Wright, also of Bronzeville, stopped to greet Emanuel. “It’s on!” she said. “We’re getting ready to change some things in Chicago.”
Talking briefly to reporters, Emanuel repeated a familiar campaign theme about the city getting a “fresh beginning” to fix its problems. He promised to quickly get to work on the transition and said that he believes the city is ready to work together.
“Do we have differences? Yes,” he said. “But we cannot and will not let them to become points of division. We received great support throughout the city. People know these challenges are common challenges.”