McKinley Park Ald. George Cardenas Resigns in Preparation to Take Seat on Cook County Board of Review

George Cardenas appears in the WTTW News Voter Guide. (WTTW News)George Cardenas appears in the WTTW News Voter Guide. (WTTW News)

Ald. George Cardenas (12th Ward) resigned from the Chicago City Council Tuesday, adding McKinley Park to the list of neighborhoods that will elect a new alderperson in 2023.

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Unopposed in next Tuesday’s general election, Cardenas will win his bid to represent the 1st District on the Cook County Board of Review, which hears appeals of property tax assessments made by Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi.

Cardenas, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s deputy floor leader, will leave the City Council after 20 years in office representing McKinley Park as well as parts of Little Village and Brighton Park.

Although Cardenas will not take his seat on the Board of Review until January, Cardenas said his resignation will take effect Nov. 30, giving Lightfoot a chance to conduct a “thorough search for his replacement.”

“I have had the privilege of working to uplift the communities of the 12th Ward, and I am proud of the legacy this work leaves behind,” Cardenas wrote in his resignation letter.

Read the full letter.

The chair of the City Council’s Environmental Protection and Energy, Cardenas was an ally of former Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel before becoming a reliable supporter of Lightfoot.

Lightfoot praised Cardenas as a "superb colleague and confidante" in a statement.

"I will do everything possible to ensure that the next alderman for the 12th Ward follows George’s model of integrity, advocacy, and delivery," Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot must appoint a replacement by Jan. 29 — smack in the middle of the next aldermanic election. The election is set for Feb. 28.

Lightfoot’s pick will serve until the end of Cardenas’ term in May — and could have a leg up, if they run to permanently replace Cardenas.

Cardenas has endorsed his former chief of staff Anabel Abarca, who also worked for U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley and as well as Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s successful 2012 campaign for the House of Representatives. Duckworth was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016.

Julia Ramirez has also launched a campaign to represent the 12th Ward, according to records filed with state and city officials.

Cardenas’ replacement will be Lightfoot’s fourth appointment to the City Council.

Lightfoot tapped Ald. Nicole Lee (11th Ward) to replace convicted former Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson in April; Ald. Monique Scott (24th Ward) to replace her brother, former Ald. Michael Scott, Jr.; and Ald. Timmy Knudsen (43rd Ward) to replace former Ald. Michele Smith.

Cardenas is one of seven City Council committee chairs to announce they will not run for re-election, joining Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th Ward), Ald. Howard Brookins (21st Ward), Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th Ward), Ald. Tom Tunney (44th Ward), Ald. Harry Osterman (48th Ward) and Smith.

Indicted Ald. Carrie Austin (34th Ward), Ald. James Cappleman (46th Ward) and Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th Ward) have also announced they will not run for the City Council again.

Ald. Sophia King (4th Ward), Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward) and Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward) announced bids for mayor in 2023. 

Thirteen Chicago wards — representing more than 25% of the city — are set for new City Council leadership in May 2023.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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