About the Candidate
Name: Austin Baidas
DOB: Nov. 18, 1970
Family: Ruth Baidas, mother; Loren Baidas, brother; Lanise Stufft, sister.
Political Experience: First time running for elected office. Senior Advisor at the US Dept of Transportation for the Obama Administration. Associate Budget Director and Assistant Director of CMS for the Quinn Administration.
I’m Austin Baidas and I want to be your Alderman. The 44th Ward needs an Alderman who represents our values. An Alderman who will end corruption and fight against insider deals.
After a career turning around businesses, the economic downturn of 2008 drove me to get involved. I was proud to serve in the Obama Administration as a Senior Advisor at the Department of Transportation and for the State of Illinois in multiple rolls including as Associate Budget Director. For the state, I found common sense ways to save money without cutting programs, like saving $55 million per year by consolidating leases.
When I first got involved government, it was to do practical things like finding efficiencies and saving money. But in 2013, I saw firsthand the power of government to change lives. As the highest ranking openly gay member of the Governor’s Office, I was proud to join the incredible team of activists to pass marriage equality. 7 months later, my uncles who just celebrated their 35th anniversary came to Chicago to get married. It was incredibly powerful to see family members who at Thanksgiving used to refer to my uncle’s husband as his “roommate” or his “friend” come together to recognize, support and celebrate their loving relationship.
I will bring this same view of government to city hall. I will do practical things like working to end corruption and fighting insider deals. These rob our city of the resources to fund public safety and education. And, I will also push for progressive values which change lives like a $15 minimum wage and family and medical leave.
We don’t need the business Alderman or 4 more years of the status quo. We need an Alderman who is only answerable to the residents of the 44th Ward. Not to corporations, not to developers, not to political insiders, and not to right-wing billionaires. I’m running to be a new voice for Lakeview, for my neighbors, and for a bright future for the 44th Ward.
What is your vision for this office?
As alderman need to be independent from city hall and represent the residents of the Ward. I will implement participatory budgeting to hear the voices of residents. I have also pledged not to take corporate or PAC money to show that I will only be representing the residents who elect me and not other interests like corporations or developers.
What is the most pressing issue facing constituents, and how can you help address it?
I will work to end corruption and insider deals which divert resources from the general fund. We need to increase police resources and training, increase education funding, create a 10 year city budget plan which funds our priorities and obligations including pensions, end short-term budget gimmicks like selling assets, Curb TIFs, create a development plan for the ward to address vacant storefronts, and implement a $15 minimum wage.