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Mayor Daley: 'It's Time For Chicago To Move On' (VIDEO, FULL TRANSCRIPT)

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On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced that he would not seek a seventh term--which caught the majority of Chicagoans by surprise.

After 21 years, the decision was clearly a difficult one for Daley. WATCH his announcement here. A full transcript of the speech follows. Read more about the decision here.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/video.

Daley's speech:

"I'm here today to say what I hope you already know: I love Chicago. I love the 'I will' spirit of the place, and most of all, I love the people. Throughout this great city, in every neighborhood, on every block, there are people who give unselfishly, unbending in their determination, bold in the belief that they can make a difference. And they have. Together as a city, we have moved past our differences to make real progress. We are Chicago, in my view, the greatest city on Earth. For 38 years I've been a public servant, and for the last 21 years, as mayor. From the beginning, I've been guided by one belief: that every day I could do better for the people of Chicago. I've always known that people want you to work hard for them. Clearly, they won't always agree with you, and obviously, they don't like it when you make a mistake. But at all times, they expect you to lead. To make difficult decisions, rooted in what's right for them. For 21 years, that's what I've tried to do. But today, I'm announcing that I will not seek a seventh term as mayor of the City of Chicago. Simply put: it's time. It's time for me, it's time for Chicago to move on. Improving Chicago has been the ongoing work of my life. I have loved minute of it. There has been no greater privilege or honor than serving as your mayor. Working alongside seasoned professionals, incredibly committed business and community leaders and some of the most dedicated public employees you ever expect. I've had the opportunity to expand. To build. To create. To unite and compromise for the betterment of Chicago. I am deeply grateful that the people of this great city. More grateful than I can fully express. I've given it my all, I've done the best. Now, I am ready with my family to begin the new phase of our lives. In the coming days, I know there will be some reflecting on my time as mayor. Many of you will search to find what's behind my decision. It's simple. I've always believed that every person, especially public officials, must understand when it's time to move on. For me, that time is now. The truth is that I've been thinking about this for the last several months. In the last several weeks, I've been increasingly comfortable with my decision. It just feels right. In closing, I want to thank my family. For the ongoing love and support. Without out it, I could have not done this. And again to the thousands of Chicagoans, who have worked side by side with me every day to confront our challenges, to improve the lives of people and make this city stronger. I thank them. I could not have done it without you. In the end, this is a personal decision. No more, no less. For the next seven months, I assure you, that I will work as hard as I have for the past 21 years for all the people of Chicago. Thank you very much."