Former president Barack Obama shares a laugh with Mayor Rahm Emanuel in December 2017. Credit: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Welcome to the Reader‘s weekday news brief.

  • Obama insiders say he’ll step up campaigning in 2018

Former president Barack Obama will step up his campaign work in 2018 and will never take another full-time day job, insiders told the Tribune. Obama will “continue to be politically active in 2018, with more endorsements and more campaigning” as the midterm elections approach, according to spokeswoman Katie Hill. “He must feel 100 pounds lighter,” his former senior adviser David Axelrod said. “He is still deeply concerned about the world and the things that always concerned him, but there’s something to be said about not having those red phones around him, metaphorically speaking.” [Tribune]

  • Chris Kennedy leaves gubernatorial candidate forum after Jeanne Ives makes “ignorant” and “stupid” comments about gun violence

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy walked off the stage of a candidate forum Monday, “criticizing Republican candidate Jeanne Ives for what he called ‘ignorance and stupidity’ after she said Chicago’s gun violence could be solved if more fathers stayed in the home,” according to the Tribune. Ives, a state representative who is challenging incumbent governor Bruce Rauner in the GOP primary, responded to a question about gun violence by saying, “The problem is the gun violence in this city of Chicago, predominantly. And you know how you’re going to solve it? Fathers in the home.” Kennedy, the son of the late senator Robert F. Kennedy, responded to Ives’s comments by saying, “Well, I wish I could agree with you. I didn’t have a father in my life. Somebody shot him.” Kennedy then left the stage to a standing ovation. [Tribune]

  • Report: There are still few minority Chicago police officers

The Chicago Police Department has been hiring white recruits at a greater pace despite the fact that more minorities are applying to be police officers, according to a Sun-Times analysis of city records. Of the more than 54,000 people registered to take the hiring exam in the past two years, 35 percent were African-American, 32 were Hispanic, and 20 percent were white. But of the 1,371 cops hired, only 14 percent were African-American and 36 percent were Hispanic, compared to 41 percent white. [Sun-Times]

  • There hasn’t been a fatal shooting in Chicago in five days

As of late Tuesday, there hadn’t been a fatal shooting in Chicago since January 11 at 11:30 AM, according to the Sun-Times. It’s the longest streak without a fatal shooting in Chicago since March 2017. [Sun-Times]

  • Emanuel challenger Troy LaRaviere launches 2019 campaign site

Former Chicago Public Schools principal Troy LaRaviere launched his 2019 mayoral campaign website Tuesday, slamming incumbent mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Our mayor’s office is incompetent,” he said in a statement. “A simple look at our city’s mounting debt, the mayor’s amateurish leadership of our school system or his complete inadequacy in both supporting police and holding them accountable is just the beginning of the mounting evidence of his incompetence.” [Tribune]

  • The Roost Carolina Kitchen is bringing its fried chicken to the Loop

Popular fried chicken stand the Roost Carolina Kitchen is opening its third location at 400 S. Financial Place in the Loop in February. The menu will be mostly to-go, and won’t feature as many items as the Roost’s River West and Lakeview locations. [Eater Chicago]