About the Candidate
Name: Derek Lindblom
DOB: Sept. 14, 1981
Family: Married with an almost two-year-old son.
Occupation: Vice President at 7wire Ventures (on a leave of absence to run for office)
Political Experience: I served in the Mayor’s Office from 2011-2014 as the Chief of Staff to the Mayor’s Economic Council. Additionally, I served as a Legislative staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee from 2003- 2005 for Sen. Charles Schumer.
Hi, my name is Derek Lindblom and I’m running for Alderman in the 43rd Ward. I moved back home to Chicago and to Lincoln Park after I finished Harvard Law School over a decade ago. I met my wife, moved into our first apartment, bought our first house, and had our son. I’m a leader in local neighborhood groups and we’re raising our family in the City about to send our son to Oscar Mayer, the local public school.
I’m running because I believe Chicago’s at a crossroads. We’ve got enormous challenges ahead of us: Our city finances are tens of billions in debt with already high taxes and a billion dollar budget gap ahead of us. We have serious crime and violence challenges in the City as a whole and more and more in our own community. Vacant storefronts, financial challenges to our schools, and housing affordability in my neighborhood and many others.
If we fail to meet these challenges, Chicago could go the way of Detroit with more taxes, more crime, and more people moving out.
But we can’t meet these challenges if we keep following the old Chicago Way in City Council. We need to take a new approach and elect a New Kind of Alderman.
I’m not the traditional Aldermanic candidate. I’ve spent my career tackling the hardest problems I could find. I’ve worked in the U.S. Senate as a staffer on gun violence prevention, I’ve worked here in Chicago’s City Hall, leading the policy on the City’s pension negotiations and confronting our biggest financial challenges. I know these issues inside and out. And I’ve built successful companies in the private sector in healthcare technology, including one that employs over 300 people and helps over a hundred thousand people with diabetes successfully manage their condition.
Chicago has incredible assets - an educated and skilled workforce, a business community that cares about its City, great educational and cultural institutions, and wonderful neighborhoods. But if we don’t run at the hard problems instead of away from them, we could lose what we’ve built. The time of doing things the way we’ve always done it in City Council needs to come to a close. I’m running to be that change, for our City, our neighborhood, and our future. Thank you.
What is your vision for this office?
My vision for this office is two-fold.
First, I’m running to challenge the status quo and make change on the city’s biggest issues. We’re facing escalating crime, corruption that continues to plague our government, and businesses and residents leaving the city at an alarming rate. Underlying all those issues is a financial crisis that only threatens to worsen these problems if not properly handled. I want to enter this office so I can tackle these issues head on and make real change – by working to stabilize our finances, implement a comprehensive strategy to combat crime, invest in our schools, and energize our commercial corridors.
Second, I want to upgrade the 43rd Ward office to deliver first-rate city services. I have released a concrete plan for my first 30 days, 100 days, and year in order to ensure our Ward office is best responding to constituent requests, communicating with residents, and acting upon the best wishes of 43rd Ward constituents. More detailed plans on my vision for this office can be found at voteforderek.com/vision.
What is the most pressing issue facing constituents, and how can you help address it?
The two most pressing issues facing the constituents of the 43rd Ward are crime and taxes. We’ve seen an alarming rise in carjackings, armed robberies, and gun crimes here in my Ward. My plan for making our neighborhoods safer includes lifelong training for our police, investing in mental and behavioral health, leveraging safety cameras to catch criminals and discourage crime, double and triple-down on community and mentoring programs, and make gun violence prevention our number one Police priority.
Additionally, residents in my Ward are facing a tax burden that is pushing too many out of their homes. We need to hold the line on taxes, particularly property taxes. We have to focus on reforming City Government and our legacy liabilities. We can’t tax our way out of the City’s financial straits at the expense of our neighborhood.
Underlying all of the City’s challenges is our financial situation. If the City is unable to stabilize its long-term financial situation, any gains we’ve made (e.g. in Education) are put at-risk and our most difficult challenges (e.g. Public Safety) will go from difficult to nearly intractable in a financial crisis.
I’m someone who’s worked on these issues up-close at the highest levels. I’ve led the City’s policy in negotiating with Labor on pensions and know the challenges, the players involved, and the possibilities. There is hope here, but we have to be creative and City Council has to produce solutions instead of just being another cost center.