Though the race for mayor and many of the aldermanic races are still up in the air in Chicago, this week’s municipal election did bring some decisive outcomes.
Among the outright victors winning seats for the first time were Julia Ramirez in the 12th Ward, Jessie Fuentes in the 26th Ward and Jeylú Gutiérrez in the 14th Ward. Gutiérrez is the first new alderperson in the 14th Ward in 54 years; it was previously represented by the now-indicted Ald. Ed Burke. Gutiérrez said she was inspired to run for office when she saw her ward lacked for city services.
“I’ve been a district director in Cook County for four years with Commissioner Anaya,” Gutiérrez said. “And often times I’ve seen the disparities and the inequities in our ward. As soon as I came to Chicago, I saw how different Brighton Park, where I landed, was than other communities in the North Side or the suburbs. And I always thought about why. What was the issue? And then I started getting involved in volunteering, and I realized that’s because of the leadership that we had in the 14th Ward. We don’t have a nice library in Gage Park. We don’t have a community center. We need to make sure that all our kids, residents have great spaces to thrive. But also we need to bring investment and help our businesses to keep growing and welcome any new neighbors and business owners to our 14th Ward.”
On the issue of public safety, Gutiérrez said caring for police is a priority.
“We need to ensure that every single community in our ward is safe,” Gutiérrez said. “But we also need to make sure that our police officers and our CPD is well equipped and they’re also being taken care of. They are also parents and neighbors that they need to go back to their families. So, we need to work together with my colleagues or other city officials, as well as the county and other state and federal officials in order for us to bring resources to our 14th Ward.”
Gutiérrez was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García – but she said she’s not yet sure who she will endorse in the April 4 mayoral runoff.
“Endorsements are not given; they need to be earned,” Gutiérrez said. “So I need to make sure that my 14th Ward is going to be well taken care of. … I need to check exactly what their policies and what their intentions are with our ward because we need to make sure that we back up the best option for 14th Ward.”