Challenger Will Guzzardi beat State Rep. Toni Berrios for the Illinois House of Representatives' 39th District in the March Primary Election. Guzzardi, 26, received 5,245 votes, or 61 percent, compared with Berrios' 3,402 votes, or 39 percent. Berrios, 36, is the daughter of Cook County Democratic Party chairman and assessor Joe Berrios, and has held the 39th District seat since 2003. Guzzardi joins us.
Read Guzzardi's bio from his website below:
Will Guzzardi lives in Logan Square, where he volunteers as a community organizer with numerous neighborhood groups. He spearheaded Logan Square United for Brentano, an organization that saved Brentano Math and Science Academy from closure through grassroots action. He also organized with CODE (Communities Organized for Democracy in Education) to fight for an elected school board in Chicago; in the November 2012 elections, Guzzardi worked with volunteers to get an elected school board referendum on the ballot in 40 precincts in our community. That advisory ballot measure passed with 87% approval in our area, after extensive organizing by Guzzardi and CODE.
Additionally, Will has dedicated himself to improving voter access in Chicago. As an advisory board member of Chicago Votes, a non-partisan voting rights organization, he helped lead the initiative to institute online voter registration in Illinois. After active lobbying and grassroots mobilization, Guzzardi and Chicago Votes got that initiative passed by the state legislature in the spring of 2013. It was signed into law by the Governor at the Logan Square Library, with Guzzardi and other Chicago Votes members present to celebrate the bill’s success. Registering to vote on the internet will be a reality in Illinois starting in the summer of 2014.
In his professional life, Will has worked in communications at the University of Chicago and as a reporter at Huffington Post Chicago, where he did pioneering investigative reporting and shone a light on the often unseen and underappreciated work of nonprofit groups and community organizations across the city.
Originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Guzzardi attended Brown University, where he graduated with a degree in comparative literature, and has lived in Logan Square ever since. He is passionate about education, and has taught afterschool programs and tutored underprivileged students for ten years.
Paris Schutz spoke with Guzzardi back in February when he was on the campaign trail. Watch that story: