Chicago/ Politics & Govt
AI Assisted Icon
Published on May 24, 2024
Pastor Acree Withdraws From Chicago RTA Board Nomination Amid Qualification ScrutinySource: User:JeremyA, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

In a sudden U-turn, Mayor Brandon Johnson's nominee to the RTA board, Rev. Ira Acree, has backed out of the race to take on a critical role at the Regional Transportation Authority. Acree's exit comes after a City Council vote on his appointment was delayed amidst a wave of criticism questioning his qualifications for the tough job ahead.

Acree, a high-profile West Side pastor, pulled his name just two days after the vote deferral, suggesting pressure was mounting from skeptics within the council. According to ABC7 Chicago, the pastor blamed Ald. Scott Waguespack of the 32nd Ward and Ald. Andre Vasquez of the 40th Ward for spearheading the oppositionist streak, both of whom cast dissenting votes in the transport committee.

The nominee faced pointed questions about his readiness to steer the RTA, especially given his novice understanding of the Chicago Transit Authority's affairs. Acree admitted he occasionally uses the CTA as an adult, primarily in the downtown area, and proclaimed himself fortunate to have a car, moving away from regular public transportation dependency.

His knowledge gaps were glaring, with Acree unaware of the RTA's $730 million shortfall, per an ABC7 Chicago article. This, coupled with a lack of dialogue with the mayor about the administration's transit vision, drew doubts about his ability to handle a transportation system in crisis.

Yet, in an attempt to ward off the undertow of unfavorable opinion, Acree charged his opponents with aiming to thwart African-American progress. "It’s just so unfortunate that opponents of African-American empowerment have struck again," Acree told the Sun-Times. He drew parallels to civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., implying that expertise was not a prerequisite for leading a movement or representing the public interest.