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Emanuel won’t limit public outreach despite shootings

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

As architect of the 2006 Democratic takeover of Congress, Rahm Emanuel helped recruit and re-elect Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

He also pioneered “Congress on the Corner,” the outreach program that saw Giffords greeting constituents at a grocery store when she was shot in the head Saturday.

On Tuesday, Emanuel said the Arizona massacre has done nothing to alter his desire to create a local version of the program if he’s elected mayorthat would allow him to greet Chicago voters in the neighborhoods where they live and shop.

“Do I worry about security? Yes. [But] I will not change the way I do stuff in the sense of a level of relationship and conversation and dialogue with the public” because of security concerns, Emanuel said.

“I would never want to remove myself from hearing directly from people so I can, in one way or another, fix something.”

Emanuel noted that many of his best ideas — including the so-called Elder Justice Act and the simplified financial aid form for the parents of college students — originated from suggestions made by constituents who stopped to talk to him when he was in Congress.

On Tuesday morning, he was shaking hands at a South Side L stop when a young man came up to him and showed him a parent-teacher contract. Emanuel, who has made a similar proposal, has his staff examining the idea.

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