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After Rahm, What Comes Next for the Obama Library?

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to step down may give critics of the library plan more time and room to negotiate.
Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are greeted by Rahm Emanuel during a community event on the Obama Presidential Center at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago, May 3, 2017.
Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are greeted by Rahm Emanuel during a community event on the Obama Presidential Center at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago, May 3, 2017.Kamil Krzaczynski/Reuters

Public safety, the city’s pension load, and public schools were the major issues haunting Rahm Emanuel’s assumed re-election bid earlier this month, all of which were upended by his surprise announcement that he wouldn’t throw his hat into the ring for a third term. Given the power that the office of Chicago’s mayor has traditionally held and its history of machine-style politics, nearly every issue hinges on which way “the man on five” (there has only been one woman mayor) leans.

That includes the fate of the Obama Presidential Center, to be installed in Jackson Park on the South Side, near where President Obama taught at the University of Chicago and began his political career.