After the Tuesday, February 26 elections, incumbent Tom Tunney won in the 44th Ward and incumbent Scott Waguespack in the 32rd Ward. There will be runoff elections in the 43, 46 and 47 Wards on Tuesday, April 2.
This election is crowded — from the 14 mayoral candidates to contentious aldermanic races, Chicago is filled with political hopefuls.
With so many residents running and 50 wards to follow, it’s difficult to keep track of the platforms and candidates that apply to you. But it’s important to know who your public officials are and to vote for those who you believe in.
Since Fall Quarter, 14 East has collected DePaul student addresses for its ongoing water testing project. 14 East used the 91 addresses collected to determine the top five wards DePaul students live in. Through our reporting, we found that the 32nd, 43rd, 44th, 46th and 47th Wards are the most popular areas for DePaul students in our reporting.
So, using the top five wards we have found DePaul students to live in, here’s info on who is running in those wards and what their platforms are.
Bucktown, Wicker Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Roscoe Village, Hamlin Park
Located just west of DePaul University, the 32nd Ward covers many neighborhoods including Bucktown, Wicker Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Roscoe Village and Hamlin Park. The incumbent, Scott Waguespack, is one of five aldermen running unopposed in this year’s city elections.
Scott Waguespack has been Alderman of the 32nd Ward since 2007 after defeating incumbent Ted Matlak. Waguespack is also a member of the following committees; Budget and Government Operations; Committees, Rules, and ethics; Education and Child Development; Housing and Real Estate; License and Consumer Protection, as well as Special Events and Cultural Affairs. Along with Waguespack’s active role in city council, he has attended 75 percent of the 298 required city council meetings since 2015.
During his multiple terms as alderman, Waguespack has been known to heavily challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel and former Mayor Richard Daley on numerous issues. As an independent with no party affiliation, Waguespack also heads the Progressive Caucus which seen as the internal watchdog for City Council.
Recently, Waguespack has been most active in speaking out against the Lincoln Yards mega project which would border the 32nd Ward. He states the TIF money should go towards where it’s needed most — underfunded programs like CPS, where it’s needed most. Waguespack also shares concerns over the impact the development would have on smaller music venues and businesses.
32nd Ward write-up by Melody Mercado, 14 East
Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Old Town
The 43rd Ward encompasses Lincoln Park, along with the Gold Coast and part of Old Town. DePaul’s campus, the zoo, and the soon-to-be Lincoln Yards — are not only some of the 43rd Ward’s most prominent landmarks, but the city's as well. Incumbent Michele Smith has been the alderman since 2011, but that might change this year with new candidates and a changing environment.
Leslie Fox has directed the most mega-projects out of all the candidates. She also served as Executive Director of the Chicago Host Committee for the 1994 World Cup and the 1996 Democratic National Convention.
Fox also founded her own public relations firm, Fox & Associates. With her firm, she was able to create a program designed to help CPS and government officials find a more efficient way to communicate. Up until recently, Fox was Chair of the local School Council for Lincoln Park High School. Schools are her top priority as alderman — “as she is the only running candidate to have children enrolled in CPS,” according to Fox’s website.
On her website, she clearly outlines her view on TIF funds and how and when to use them. “TIF funds, now in the hands of the Mayor’s Office, should be used for education and funding critical city services, like police and fire,” Fox said. If she were to be elected alderman, there most likely be tension between her and the development of Lincoln Yards. According to Illinois Sunshine, Fox has over $200,000 on hand.
Fox lives with her husband, children and two rescue pets.
Rebecca Janowitz is also a law school graduate, but from Chicago’s Loyola University. Upon graduation, she joined South Dakota Legal Services, where she represented indigenous members of the Native American community in court. After moving back to Chicago, she continued to practice law. Eventually, she became special assistant to Toni Preckwinkle until 2001. Before taking leave to campaign, she worked as a Special Assistant for Legal Affairs for the Cook County Justice Advisory Council.
On her website, Janowitz explains that running for office and standing up for what is right runs in her family lineage. Her grandmother opposed the tyranny in Russia and her father ran for the Michigan State Legislator. Like the other candidates, she advocates for a strong education system and a safe community.
Like the other candidates, she also had her fair share of helping out with schools and joined the Chicago Public Schools as their Coordinator of Special Projects.
Where she especially differs with the others,who want to increase police force, Janowitz focuses on clearly marked pedestrian pathways and clear L stops.
Lindblom graduated from Harvard College and Law school and was their President of Law and Policy. Like Smith, Lindblom has connections with Rahm Emanuel. He was Emanuel’s senior policy adviser on economic and financial issues— as well as his Chief of Staff. He was also able to help reform pension legislation— a contentious topic within this race — while he was the city’s chief policy negotiator. Currently Lindblom serves as Membership Director of Wrightwood Neighbors in Lincoln Park and helps run the Old Town Art Fair.
Lindblom believes Chicago needs to fundamentally rethink what an alderman can be. His vision is to bring policy innovation and community building to the 43rd Ward. Efficient city government is his top priority, and lists that in his first 30 days he would want to launch alderman office hours, and also set up a comprehensive customer relationship management software where residents can contact the ward.
Ringer may be the first candidate to start in politics, seeing as he started going to community meetings with his parents as a child. In 2011, he was the first chief of staff for the Chief Financial Officer of Chicago.
As alderman, Ringer would want to rethink crime prevention — as the number of carjackings have increased in the ward— by having more police walking around a beat rather than just in their cars. If elected, he said he would also focus on local businesses and go to them in person to address their concerns. While he does not agree with the stadium aspect of Lincoln Yards, he believes this project could help improve small businesses. Ringer served as the president of the Lincoln Park Zoo Auxiliary for the past two years.
Smith graduated from University of Chicago law school and started her political career as a prosecutor for the United States Attorney Office. Once returning to Chicago, she became the alderman in 2011.
Smith is currently serving her second term as alderman. An alumni of University of Chicago’s law program, she has been involved in the city’s politics since she graduated. Smith's most notable contribution to her ward has been her renegotiations on the Lincoln Park hospital redevelopment. Her priority has always been constituent services, or responsive city service delivery. Since obtaining office, she has doubled the number of street lights repaired and street potholes filled, and tripled the number of sewer cleanings. Another priority she has is education, and won 20 million dollar renovations to Lincoln Park High School. Smith currently has a 64 percent voter approval rating.
43rd Ward write-up by Mikayla Rose Price, 14 East.
Wrigleyville, Boystown, Lakeview
The 44th Ward includes Wrigleyville, Boystown and surrounding areas in Lakeview. The ward and incumbent Alderman Tom Tunney have made headlines in the past few months regarding frustrations the Cubs-owning Ricketts family has with the alderman and his decisions. All three candidates echo concerns of corruption, safety and education.
Austin Baidas has experience working inside and outside of the political field. Baidas has been the CEO of two companies: TriMatrix Laboratories, an environmental testing lab and Four Seasons Housing, a home manufacturing company that dissolved in 2008 during the Great Recession. Under Governor Pat Quinn’s leadership from 2011 to 2015, Baidas was the Associate Director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget. Here his website says he was the highest ranking openly-gay employee in the governor’s office. In 2016, Baidas was also the Senior Advisor at the Administrator at the U.S. Department of Transportation, under the Obama Administration.
Baidas’ platform resonates with many narratives seen across races—end the corruption in Chicago politics. He supports mandatory term limits, campaign finance reform and a $15 minimum wage. Baidas is an advocate for LGBTQ rights, and helped achieve marriage equality in Illinois under Quinn’s administration. As alderman, Baidas wants to “put an end to giveaways to anti-choice organizations.” Baidas also supports an elected school board.
Before his candidacy, Baidas was big donor in Illinois politics and even contributed $200,000 to his own campaign. Most notably, though, Baidas is longtime friends with Laura Ricketts and said he consulted her before joining the race. The Ricketts family has been publicly critical of incumbent Tom Tunney, and has supported campaigns to unseat him. Read more about Baidas here.
Elizabeth Shydlowski is a nonprofit consultant with laundry list of occupations — ranging from fundraising consultant for Marco Rubio’s campaign for president to fundraising manager for the Poverty Solutions Initiative.
Shydlowski is a critical of the rising taxes in Lakeview and supports a participator budget in which residents of the ward make up a task force to have input on how money is spent. Shydlowski is also running on a platform that aims to end corruption in the 44th ward and brings the community together. She supports an elected school board, mayoral and aldermanic term limits of two years and legalized and taxed recreational marijuana. Shydlowski said she would not employ staff in her office with outside jobs or contracts with organizations that do business in Chicago, referencing Ed Burke as a reason against this practice
Shydlowski told the Chicago Sun-Times that 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waugespack is her role model for the position because he listens to his constituents and has visible presence in his ward. Learn more about Shydlowski here.
Recently, incumbent Tom Tunney has frequently made headlines in Chicago regarding the Ricketts family’s public complaints of his leadership. The Ricketts family, who owns the Cubs, has said it is difficult working with Tunney, particularly when it comes to over night games, parking and zoning. Tunney believes the Ricketts family is mostly upset because they didn’t receive public funding for renovations at Wrigley.
Tunney is the first openly gay alderman in Chicago and has held his position since he was elected in 2003. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois in restaurant management, and his master’s from Cornell University in Hotel Management. Tunney owns Ann Sather, a restaurant with two of three locations in his ward. He’s been endorsed by the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune Editorial Board and Equality Illinois PAC, among others.
Since Tunney became alderman, he’s built three new playgrounds in the ward, worked with Chicago Police to create the Lakeview Entertainment Detail and established more affordable housing option in the ward, including Town Hall Apartments an LGBT senior center on Halsted and Addison. He is currently the chairman of the Chicago City Council’s Committee on Economic, Capital, and Technology Development.
Tunney supports the consent decree, affordable housing and is pro-choice. Read more about Tunney’s platform here.
44th Ward write-up by Marissa Nelson, 14 East
Uptown, Lakeview, Buena Park
The 46th Ward covers the Uptown, Buena Park and East Lakeview neighborhoods, including Montrose Beach, Truman College and Red Line stops from Sheridan to Argyle. Incumbent James Cappleman finds himself in close company with five new — and much younger — competitors. Important issues in the 46th Ward aldermanic race include TIF reform, affordable housing, public safety and gentrification, prompted by the influx in high-rise development and rent control ban displacing long-time residents.
46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman hasn’t had the most straightforward political backstory. Cappleman migrated from Houston to Chicago in the ‘80s with the Franciscan friars only to quickly come out of the closet and open a homeless shelter for those dying of AIDS. He moved to Uptown to work with the Heartland Alliance and has resided in the neighborhood since 1999. After an unsuccessful run in 2007, Cappleman was elected alderman in 2011 where he has remained since (after a tight runoff race in 2015).
The Uptown from 2011 has changed immensely under Cappleman’s jurisdiction. The Ward’s gentrification has been forwarded by high-rise developments, a renovated Wilson Red Line stop, the removal of homeless encampments and the closure of single room occupancy buildings. Cappleman’s use of TIF funds and strict crime policy — including removing public basketball hoops in a slanted effort to curb illicit activity — have received ire from other candidates, which could prove for another close reelection run. View Cappleman’s and the 46th Ward’s website here.
A DePaul University grad with Uptown roots, Angela Clay offers residential experience that the other four newcomers lack (none of which have lived in the ward for over five years). A product of the wards public schools, Clay was a founding student of Voters of Youth in Chicago Education (VOYCE) and went on to become the youngest president of Voice of the People in Uptown, a housing nonprofit. Clay’s campaign focuses on her “core four” platforms — affordability, diversity, sustainability and equity. To provide affordable housing and stop the displacement of long-term residents, Clay advocates lifting the ban on rent control and freezing property taxes for low-income households. Clay also supports the Community Benefits Agreement, a contract signed by community members and developers to allocate amenities to the local neighborhood.
Concerning policing in the 46th Ward, Clay advocates increased community policing, retraining officers and enacting the Civilians Police Accountability Council (CPAC). To reinstate trust between CPD and the ward’s residents of color, Clay proposes monthly meetings between the district commander and the community as well as mandatory community service hours for officers. Clay also isn’t against the use of TIF funds — as long as they are used for their intended purpose, to revitalize low-income, low-opportunity neighborhoods. Read more about Clay’s campaign here.
Family man and East Lakeview resident Justin Kreindler has spent a majority of his professional life in the nonprofit sector and is currently a program director at Public Allies Chicago. Kreindler puts housing at the forefront of his campaign, along with strengthening the local public school system and managing the ward’s expenses. The father of two advocates for affordable family-oriented housing options to accommodate growing families and supports the Community Benefits Agreement.
Kreindler aims to bolster public school by funding enrichment programs like drama, art, music and sports — yet does not shy from using TIF seed funding to do so. Kreindler also advocates peaceful safety options beyond CPD and supports the CPAC ordinance. Read more on Kreindler’s campaign here.
After Jon-Robert McDowell’s brother was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and subsequently dropped from his insurance in 2007, McDowell moved to Chicago to help support him. The Buena Park-based candidate now works at a digital marketing firm and is openly critical about Alderman Cappleman’s coziness towards big developers in the ward. Instead, McDowell wants to focus on community and trust. One of McDowell’s main issues includes TIF reform, where he advocates for taxpayer approval on all TIF developments, including presenting concrete plans to the community.
McDowell also promotes establishing an elected school board to better vocalize the needs of the community when it comes to education, and prioritizing public over charter schools in the ward. McDowell advocates the same community interaction when it comes to policing — proposing increased community engagement between police and citizens and monthly paid leave for officers to engage in community projects. He advocates having police live in the wards they police and rewarding engagement and reduced crime rates. Read more about McDowell’s campaign here.
Erika Wozniak Francis
Perhaps best-known as a cohost of the live show “The Girl Talk” at The Hideout, Erika Wozniak Francis is a vocal critic of the city’s TIF deals whose campaign has received endorsements by fellow progressive Chicago politicians such as Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and David Orr. To keep housing affordable in her increasingly development-heavy Uptown neighborhood, Francis advocates stopping TIF handouts for corporate luxury developers and supports an overhaul of the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) that would mandate every developer have affordable on-site units to avoid gentrifying current residents.
An elementary school teacher and DePaul alumn, Francis advocates electing a representative school board to provide accountability for CPS, forming a 46th Ward Local School Council Coalition and supporting full funding for public schools. In regards to public safety, in tandem with her push for education reform, Francis advocates working with the CPD to enforce a community policing model and provide funding for more youth after school programs.
Francis also supports a $15 minimum wage increase and supporting legislation to move the city to 100 percent clean energy by 2030. Read more about Erika Wozniak Francis and her campaign here.
Marianne Lalonde is a scientific research consultant and already fervently active community member — president of Lakeside Area Neighborhood Association, member of the Clarendon Park Advisory Council and on the associate board of Sarah’s Circle, among others. She is backed by some big endorsements, as well, including mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board.
Lalonde is one of the few candidates to include park and environmental reform in her campaign, including renovating Clarendon Park Fieldhouse at Montrose Beach, investing in neighborhood playlots and transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. On education, she supports a fully elected school board, increased enrollment in public schooling and also proposes to create paid student internship opportunities at the ward office specifically for Uplift High School and Truman College students.
Focusing more on the ward’s youth, Lalonde supports proactive public safety efforts such as increasing youth engagement programs as well as the CPAC and the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability GAPA ordinances. Lalonde also supports the CTA’s Red Line renovations from Lawrence through Bryn Mawr and proposes reopening the Wilson Avenue bus line. Find more on Lalonde’s campaign here.
46th Ward write-up by Madeline Happold, 14 East
North Center, Ravenswood, Roscoe Village, Lakeview and Uptown
The 47th Ward covers North Center, Ravenswood and parts of Roscoe Village, Lakeview and Uptown. Due to a self-imposed two-term limit, the current Alderman Ameya Pawar in unable to seek reelection and is instead running in a particularly contentious race for City Treasurer. Ald. Pawar’s term ending has resulted in a crowded nine-candidate race — tied with the 20th Ward for the largest number of adermanic candidates in this election cycle. Growing issues in the ward include affordable housing, education equity and establishing alternative revenue streams.
Eileen Dordek is a licensed clinical social worker who’s lived and worked in the 47th Ward for over 20 years. In terms of her civic experience, Dordek serves as the 10th District Commissioner for the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues, is a Board Member for Equality Illinois and previously served on the Board of Personal PAC for 10 years. Dordek is also the precinct leader for the 47th Ward Democratic Organization, which she was elected to in the 2018 midterms with 84 percent of the vote. Her campaign issues center on expanding affordable housing, investing in local businesses and establishing education equity in the ward.
Dordek has received endorsements from the National Organization for Women Chicago Chapter, the 47th Ward Democratic Organization, NASW Illinois Chapter and the Cook County College Teachers Union. According to Illinois Sunshine, Dordek has over $200,000 on hand — making her the second wealthiest candidate in the race after Michael Negron.
Photo courtesy of Tipping Point Photography.
Jeff Jenkins is the founder of Midnight Circus in the Parks, a non-profit organization that has generated $300,000 for parks in the 47th Ward and $1 million for parks throughout the city. His civic experience includes serving on the Coonley Elementary Local School Council for six years, being a founding board member of the political advocacy group Raise Your Hand Action and a North Center Neighborhood Association zoning committee member. His campaign issues involve increasing affordable housing by 20 percent, implementing the police consent decree and establishing a youth council in city government.
A parent of CPS students, Jenkins also endorses an elected school board, a moratorium on closing public schools and full funding for all neighborhood schools. According to Illinois Sunshine, Jenkins has just over $24,000 on hand comprised of donations of $3,000 or less.
Gus Katsafaros is the owner and operator of the North Center restaurant Marmalade. Before that, Katsafaros was born and raised in the 47th Ward and worked as an electrician. Katsafaros later founded Capital Mortgage and Financial services, Capital Realty and Southside Realty in attempts to provide affordable housing loans in the city. While Katsafaros has no civic experience, he has sponsored events for community institutions like Queen of Angels, North Park Elementary, Coonley Elementary, Waters Elementary School, Amundsen High School, Common Pantry, “I Am Your Neighbor,” CAPs, North Center Chamber of Commerce, Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce and Heartland Alliance.
Katsafaros’ campaign issues center on strengthening neighborhood watch, using TIF money to fund schools and finding new revenue streams to avoid tax increase in the ward. According to Illinois Sunshine, Katsafaros has $6,000 on hand.
Heather Way Kitzes
Heather Way Kitzes is the manager of neighborhood relations for the Chicago Cubs. Her civic experience includes previously serving as the executive director of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce for 13 years, a community member for the Inter-American Magnet School LSC, sitting on the board of the Illinois Commission on Volunteerism as well as previously serving on the boards of Lakeview YMCA, Lakeview Pantry, St. Joseph Hospital Community Leaders Board and Friends of Lakeview.
Kitzes campaign issues center on instilling a “customer service mentality” in the ward, developing and sustaining local businesses, increasing attendance at CAPS meetings and neighborhood watch programs as well as equitable education. According to Illinois Sunshine, Kitzes has just under $50,000 on hand — with half of that donated by the Cubs or the Ricketts family.
Photo courtesy of Angela B. Garbot.
Kimball Ladien is a physician and medical director of outpatient psychiatric services at Methodist Hospital in Ravenswood. While he doesn’t have civic experience, Ladien’s answers to candidate questionnaires attempt to make up for it in passion and haphazard capitalization. Ladien is the writer of Safe Haven, a book outlining ways to make America a “gang-free, drug-free, full-employment economy by 2020.” Ladien’s campaign issues center on implementing an ambitious Safe Haven style program to reduce violent crime in the city by 50 percent as well as cutting taxes and improving Chicago’s academic outcomes to be the top 5 percent in the country.
Ladien’s campaign seems to have little focus on the 47th Ward. According to his campaign website the most pressing issues facing the ward “is the same that faces all of the country and all of the world.” Ladien does not have any campaign funds or an established campaign committee according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Angela “Angie” Maloney is a 2002 DePaul graduate and has been a music teacher at CPS for the last eight years. Maloney’s civic experience includes being a member of the Chicago Teachers Union as well as being a community activist helping turn out voters for the 47th Ward Democratic Organization. Maloney’s campaign issues center on equitable education in the ward, advocating for a representative school board, prioritizing affordable housing and development projects, instilling a Sister Ward program to promote city equity and repairing community-police relations. Maloney is also for restraining Aldermanic prerogative and opposes charter schools. According to Illinois Sunshine, Maloney has just over $5,000 on hand.
Matt Martin is a Civil rights attorney at the Attorney General’s office where he focus on issues of police reform, reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights. Martin also led the drafting of the Attorney General’s complaint filed against the city on police reform and helped write the police consent decree. Martin currently serves on the local school council at McPherson Elementary, co-founded the Heart of Lincoln Square Neighbors Association and previously served on the 47th Ward’s zoning advisory council. Martin’s campaign issues center on making sure public schools are fully and equally funded, finding progressive sources of revenue besides property taxes and instilling police reform and accountability including investing in mental health de-escalation training for police officers.
Matt Martin has been endorsed by the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board, the progressive voters guide Girl, I Guess, United Working Families, ONE People's Campaign, Northside Democracy for America, Ald. David Moore of the 17th Ward and former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. According to Illinois Sunshine, Martin has $78,000 on hand.
Michael Negron is a lawyer who has worked with Rahm Emanuel as a policy director for the last seven years. In Emanuel’s office, Negron worked on issues of raising the minimum wage, passing reforms for affordable housing, reforming the business licensing code to help small businesses and establishing a $1.3 million legal defense fund for undocumented immigrants. Negron’s civic experience includes serving on the special counsel to the U.S Department of Defense, special assistant to the General Counsel, White House Office of management and budget, counselor to Elizabeth Warren as well as the social media staff for Obama for America.
Negron’s campaign issues focus on expanding affordable housing and housing for senior citizens, improving community policing, advocating for free community colleges and education equity and diverting 50 percent of city waste by 2030 to help Chicago become a waste free city.
Negron has been endorsed by the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board and has $250,000 on hand, according to Illinois Sunshine.
Thomas Schwartzers is a former Chicago police officer and current firefighter and EMT. Schwartzers’ campaign issues revolve around making neighborhood schools equal, working with law enforcement to reduce crime efficiently and providing better services to the ward in light of tax increases pricing residents out. Schwartzers is the only candidate who opposes the police consent decree and the reduction of Aldermanic prerogative.
According to Illinois Sunshine, Schwartzers has $15,000 on hand — made up of self-contributions as well as donations from Chicago Fire Department Local 2 PAC and the International Association of Fire Fighters.
47th Ward write-up by Cody Corrall, 14 East
If you don’t live in one of these wards, you can learn about who is running in your ward by entering your address into BallotReady.
Header illustration by Natalie Wade, 14 East
Correction: A previous version of this piece listed 43rd Ward candidate Jacob Ringer as John Ringer. That has since been corrected.
Runoff Roundup: What to Know on the 43rd, 46th and 47th Ward Aldermanic Elections – Fourteen East
[…] our February Alderman Issue, we outlined the top five wards — the 32nd, 43rd, 44th, 46th and 47th Wards — DePaul students live in based off data for our […]