2023 Endorsements - North Side, Wards 33, 40, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50
Updated: Feb 18
Welcome to the first set of 2023 AlderMania endorsements! We'll be starting on the far north side and moving throughout the city in the coming days. Check out the About page for endorsement criteria.
I'm just an individual person doing research. I hope this is a helpful resource to people, especially those wanting to participate by voting but without the time to heavily research or engage. If you're someone deeply involved in your local elections and organizing, I doubt you need what I have to say- you know your community and election better than I do. If you think I've gotten something wrong (or right!), keeping the values on the About page in mind, I want to hear from you about it and take your input into consideration. Please comment or use the chat tool!
First, we have 3 headline highly competitive races:
46th Ward- Angela Clay
Centered on Uptown and Buena Park, the 46th Ward's Alder James Cappleman is leaving City Council, opening the door for Angela Clay. Clay is a lifelong resident and advocate who ran unsucessfully against Cappleman in 2019, narrowly missing the runoff election. She's running again with a quality platform and the support of all of the major progressive organizing groups, as well as the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and Cook County College Teachers Union (CCCTU) and former Alder Helen Shiller. She is backing the Just Cause Eviction ordinance, the Bring Chicago Home ordinance, prioritization of affordable housing, need-based education budgeting, a Sustainable Community School Village proposal, the Treatment Not Trauma ordinance, strong community control of the police, protection of Weiss as a local hospital option, improved pedestrian and bike infrastructure, reestablishment of the Department of the Environment, and resources for mutual aid networks and community gardens. Her platform contains a variety of other great ideas and detail. I'm proud to start my endorsements with her as she is a superstar among this year's potential new alders. She knows the community and is invested there for the long-term, has been consistently involved in advocacy, and has a degree in public policy and urban issues. What more could you ask for?
This will be a highly competitive race and Clay faces Kim Walz, a former staffer of Congressman Mike Quigley, who is well-funded and backed by major liberal establishment figures, as well as Marianne LaLonde, an energy efficiency professional who made the runoff against Alder Cappleman in 2019 but was defeated. Also running are Roushaunda Williams, Patrick Nagle, and Michael Cortez.
See more at angelafor46.com.
48th Ward- [with Updates #1 and #2 and #3]
The 48th Ward encompasses primarily Edgewater and Andersonville. After an easy reelection in 2019, Alder Harry Osterman is exiting this year and there are a variety of great candidates here.
This race has drawn many candidates and will likely head to a runoff. [I initially endorsed Nick Ward here but have removed that endorsement and replaced with the updates below]
[Original description of other candidates] Larry Svabek, a lecturer at University of Chicago, seems like a notable progressive candidate as well. Joe Dunne, a VP of real estate development who develops affordable housing, is the other most likely runoff candidate. Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth is a clear progressive with a good platform who seems however to have drawn less support, and there are a few other liberal-ish candidates with some good points in their favor: Isaac Jones, Andre Peloquin, Nassir Faulkner, and Andy Peters. Also running are Roxanne Volkmann and Brian Haag.
[UPDATE, 1/25/23- There are some serious accusations of racism and other concerns floating around about people in organizations connected to Ward and particularly about a now-former campaign member. I'm continuing to watch this one closely. There are also some vague unnamed concerns about Manaa-Hoppenworth in Girl, I Guess's breakdown of the race, even as the guide endorses her, which is odd. This is a tough one. There are multiple good progressives here. I'm not on the ground there and it is difficult from the outside to sort out situations like this. It seems like there have been real causes for concern with an IPO and the local DSA there but how much those concerns should really reflect on Ward himself is pretty tough for me to tell. No one has really brought up clear issues about Ward himself, at least that I've seen, other than having a controversial person as part of his campaign, which he has changed and addressed. Ultimately, I trust the local groups and organizers who are progressive people of color and far more on-the-ground than I am there. These groups have all backed Nick Ward and I believe they really take vetting seriously and have good values around these types of issues. I'll continue to watch this one, but currently I'm sticking to my endorsement. Girl, I Guess is a great guide but we also disagree on some races and method, which I may break down in a future post.]
[UPDATE 2/5/23- I continue to learn more and dig deeper here. It's a messy one. I'm non-endorsing for the moment and will re-update in days to come, and have reflected that with edits above.]
[UPDATE 2/13/23- I've spent way more time on this race now than anything but mayor... after a lot of reading, following what involved people are discussing on social media, watching forums, etc., here's what I'm thinking.
I don't have the knowledge from the outside to understand and sort through the complex relational issues in the progressive organizing world of the 48th Ward which are at stake here. Dynamics regarding race and power in some parts of Chicago's progressive organizing are a major concern and I hope that those involved are taking the experiences of those who have been hurt seriously and making transformative changes. 48th Ward Neighbors for Justice, one of the key players in this situation claims to be doing so and named some concrete steps taken in response to events in 2021 that are part of the questions surrounding this race. Progressive groups must have responsibility for functioning in the just ways they seek to promote in the broader society.
As an outside observer, I'll just share my impressions of each of the more progressive options in the race and what voters might consider. I don't have an endorsement here.
Nick Ward is the candidate of the broader city-wide progressive movement, unions, and local groups like 48th Ward Neighbors for Justice and the local Democratic Socialists of America. He has a good grasp on the issues, is deeply connected to the community, has an organizer's mind, is a clear progressive, and has shared the working-class experience. There have been questions raised about his relating to others, his truthfulness about what he knew when about a key campaign member who has been dismissed from the campaign, and concerning dynamics of race and power in the organizing circle of which he is a part. Ward and others have provided responses taking responsibility for some things and contesting others. One People's Campaign, a key north side group, conducted and investigation in which they interviewed involved parties and they were satisfied with what they saw and are continuing to support Ward. [Update 2/18/23- Asian American Midwest Progressives also did the same thing and continued to back Ward and they were one I was really looking to on this] I don't know enough myself to judge. If you're satisfied and not concerned about these contested issues, Ward is probably your candidate. He seems most likely to make a runoff and potentially defeat the less progressive candidates in the race, due to strong progressive organizing behind him, but I have some concerns on the willingness of those supporting other campaigns to rally behind him in a runoff.
Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth is a long-time resident deeply connected to her community and very involved in local and state-wide progressive organizing. People I trust like Rep. Theresa Mah are backing her. She's been less convincing to me in forums (and even in Girl I Guess's account of her, and she's supporting her) that she has a strong handle on policy details and would be able to step immediately into being an effective changemaker. She has the right stances on the issues progressives are highlighting this year but she doesn't seem nearly as comfortable in discussing policy or making a clear and detailed vision for change.
Larry Svabek is great on policy. He really knows his stuff and is a solid progressive. My only concern really is that he's much less rooted in the community and that rootedness is important for accountability, understanding of hyper-local needs, and ability to build coalitions to get things done. I think he'd be great on the council for city-wide issues, but would he be best for his ward particularly? I'm not sure.
Nassir Faulkner seems like a great guy and generally progressive. However, to me it seems far less clear he'd really be part of the progressive movement building in the council and across the city. He has a great focus on constituent services and people seem to like him, but he also is far less convincing to me on really mastering policy detail and vision for change necessary to quickly be an effective alder.
Isaac Freilich-Jones is probably the least ideologically progressive of these five, but if you're prioritizing experience in the system, understanding of how to get things done, policy competence, and ability to jump in quickly as an effective alder, he may be your candidate. He's also deeply rooted in this community, which I think is important. I'm really impressed by his ability to speak to details of things like street-level infrastructure and make the connections from those things to larger issues like safety (both crime and traffic) and economic development. My main concern here is he's much less progressive on policing issues than the others here and won't really be part of the progressive movement in the way others would (with the accountability that brings), but he does seem pretty progressive on most things and might(?) have the best chance of these five in a runoff against Joe Dunne.
So... there's actually a plethora of good candidates here relative to most wards- it's a good problem to have that shows an engaged progressive community, but it does make a tough choice.]
50th Ward- Mueze Bawany
West Ridge's 50th Ward sees Mueze Bawany challenging Alder Debra Silverstein in a two-candidate showdown that could see the end of a three-term alder's career. Bawany is a CPS teacher and organizer and grew up in West Ridge. He's shared the experiences of the district's constituents and knows the community and working-class needs well. He is also backing the Just Cause Eviction ordinance, the Bring Chicago Home ordinance, the Treatment Not Trauma ordinance, as well as reopening the Office for Gun Violence Prevention, the creation of re-entry programs, a focus on special education, bilingual education, and culturally relevant practices in schools, and creation of a community-driven zoning process. He also particularly notes the need for more accessible and affordable child care and highlights "child-parent centers" as a key solution. He has clear and united backing from the progressive unions as well as the progressive organizing groups, in an impressive show of support for a challenger to an incumbent. Silverstein has not been an impressive alder, and the demographics of the ward with significant Jewish and South Asian populations make Silverstein-Bawany a particularly interesting matchup.
[UPDATE 2/13/23- Some really bad deleted past tweets from Bawany surfaced recently. He's really the clear choice here but continued demonstration of clearly good values and ongoing accountability from leaders representing impacted communities would be crucial if he is in office. I'm not for entirely dismissing someone based on those things when they are clearly taking responsibility, naming wrongs, and demonstrating transformation, which seems to be the case here. I've seen some follow-up from local Jewish supporters of Bawany continuing to support him, which is reassuring as well.]
See more at muezefor50.com .
Next, three incumbent progressives who may face only somewhat competitive races:
33rd Ward- Rossana Rodríguez
Alder Rossana Rodríguez is wrapping up her first term representing Albany Park. Elected in 2019 over incumbent Deb Mell of the long-running Mell family machine, she has been a clear progressive voice on the council. She has battled for affordable housing, is seeking to bring restorative justice philosophy to schools, secured staffing increases for mental health providers, instituted community-driven zoning, was a chief sponsor of the Welcoming City ordinance, and is backing the Treatment Not Trauma ordinance. I'm excited to see Alder Rodríguez up for reelection in my neighborhood. Progressive groups continue to give clear support for her.
She faces two challengers. One is Samie Martinez, who is backed by Clerk of the Circuit Court Iris Martinez (who the great "Girl, I Guess" guide hilariously ridicules every cycle and is usually a sign of a Latino candidate you don't want to back). The other is Laith Shaaban. Neither has particularly strong funding or clear support but there does seem to be some pushback in the ward against the alder's progressive stances. She seems likely to win reelection though.
See more at rossanafor33.org.
40th Ward - Andre Vasquez
Alder Andre Vasquez represents parts of the Andersonville, Bowmanville, Lincoln Square and West Ridge areas and was elected in 2019 over longtime incumbent Patrick O'Connor. He's been a solid progressive representative of his ward and boasts of strong constituent services and ward infrastructure accomplishments. He instituted a community-driven zoning process, helped negotiate the police accountability proposal that passed city council, established a non-police community crisis response team, and invested in better pedestrian and biking infrastructure. He gets into the details of city government and ward needs in his proposals and clearly knows his community well. He has creative proposals around providing housing for those without, is addressing regulation of app-based delivery and gig workers, gets specific about traffic safety, and is specific and invested in climate and sustainable infrastructure proposals. To me, he seems like he has ended up one a bit less likely to "toe the line" on loudly signaling the right thing on some progressive issues than some of his more visibly radical colleagues but has quickly become a very competent advocate for his ward while still being a good ally for progressives in general on citywide issues. Progressive groups continue to give clear support for him.
He faces two challengers who do not seem to have the serious campaigns necessary to win. One is Christian Blume, an attorney and Air Force veteran who grew up in the area and seems to have an ok platform but no convincing reason to back him over Vasquez. The other is Jane Lucius, a small business owner still battling a petition challenge who is definitely not positioning as a progressive or providing much detail on her vision.
See more at andrefor40th.com.
49th Ward- Maria Hadden
Rogers Park's 49th ward was yet another one that saw a longtime incumbent fall to a progressive in 2019. Alder Maria Hadden defeated Joe Moore and is completing her first term. She touts greater investment in violence prevention, founding of a mental health crisis response team in the ward, a legal defense fund for immigrants and refugees, increased affordability in a key senior building, funding for an additional shelter for those without housing, rehabilitation of local school buildings, a community-driven zoning process, and obtaining funds for shoreline stabilization (and other efforts that made her an Illinois Environmental Council's Community Champion) as key accomplishments. Going forward, she is backing the Treatment Not Trauma ordinance while further increasing violence prevention funding, seeking to expand block clubs, developing new cooperative housing (!!) (and she lives in a co-op!) as well as other new affordable housing, and continuing the trajectory of specific and tangible environmental efforts at the ward level begun in her first term. She continues to have clear support from progressive groups.
Two challengers are in the race in the 49th Ward. First is Belia Rodriguez, an entreprenur running on a generally liberal platform but much more supportive of expanded policing as a primary solution for public safety. She hasn't had significant fundraising but will likely draw any voters who may be critical of Hadden's progressive approach. The other is Bill Morton, who also ran in 2019, whose site suggests he is highly invested and involved in the community but also is a chaotic mess, backed by characters like Willie Wilson (who will always be a punchline on this site) and Catherine Brown D'Tycoon who formerly attempted to run for mayor and was also charged with defrauding CHA, after also winning $800,000 in a legal settlement regarding an altercation in which it seems like she ran over a police officer with her car. His online presence, fundraising, and performance last election suggest he won't be a significant factor here.
See more at mariafor49.org.
Finally, we have one unopposed incumbent:
47th Ward- Matt Martin
Alder Matt Martin, representing parts of Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, and North Center, was also first elected in 2019 and does not face a challenger. My impression is that he may be a bit less progressive than his fellow north side progressive first-termers (unsurprising considering the relative wealth of his ward in comparison to theirs), but he's a good addition to the council and apparently popular enough to be unopposed.
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