Candidate for Chicago City Council

About the Candidate

Name: Jaime Guzman
DOB: Nov. 11, 1980
Family: Wife, Desiree T. Guzman; son, Jeremiah, 12 years-old; daughter, Calista, 3 years-old. Jeremiah is a Chicago Public Schools student.
Occupation: Of Counsel, Jauregui & Associates, P.C., at the Pilsen Law Center,1545 W. 18th Street, Chicago, IL 60608.
Political Experience:

  • Interned for Jesus “Chuy” Garcia in 2003.
  • Worked as an assistant to the alderman of the 22nd ward from 2005 to 2006.
  • At-large member for the Independent Political Organization of the 22nd Ward from 2005 to 2010.
  • Worked for Friends of Chuy Garcia from 2010 to 2011.
  • Served as Chief Legislative Analyst for Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia from 2015 to 2017.
  • Circulated petitions for Aaron Ortiz for state representative, Alma Anaya for Cook County Commissioner and Chuy for Congress in 2017.

Website: electguzman14.com

Candidate Statement

Hi, my name is Jaime Guzman, I'm 38 years old. I live in Gage Park with my wife and two children, and 2000 people have nominated me to run for alderman of the 14th Ward. Like many of the residents of the ward, I'm concerned about our current leadership, city services, education quality, and transparency and accountability in the way we tax and spend public dollars. Given recent events, most Chicagoans are now fully aware of the long 50-year history of scandal and machine style politics in the 14th ward.

There is no question that after 50 years with the same alderman, change is long overdue.

But of all the people challenging the incumbent, I am the only candidate that has legislative experience, having served for a cook county commissioner. I am the only candidate that has actually worked at an alderman's office providing direct city services to all residents on an equitable and just basis. I am the only candidate with more than 10 years leveraging much needed resources for the communities I worked in. I am also the only candidate that is the parent of a Chicago Public Schools student and knows first hand, the importance of a quality education that serves the needs of students and families first, while supporting our teachers.

As your Alderman, my focus will include strengthening our schools, supporting families, expanding youth programming, public safety and finding resources for mental health services. I will implement participatory budgeting; which simply means that the people of the 14th ward will have a say in how we spend money. I will push the new assessor towards a fairer model of assessment, and by pushing legislation to stop elected officials from making money off property tax appeals.

On February 26, make your vote count. You can learn more about our campaign by visiting chicago14ward.com or follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with handle @electguzman14.

Thank you.

Candidate Q&A

What is your vision for this office?

I want what the community wants – participatory budgeting, support for families and Chicago Public Schools, uniform city services (where people do not get turned away at the ward office for speaking Spanish), and reductions in violence while having more programming for young people.

What is the most pressing issue facing constituents, and how can you help address it?

(1) We need to support children that are underperforming in school. We need opportunities for those within our adult population that are undereducated. People are needing to work two jobs to make ends meet. In other cases, young people are having to choose between working to contribute to the family or go to school.

• I will work directly with school leadership and parents to create opportunities for support to improve educational enrichment.

• I will vote to support a $15 minimum wage that includes wage tip earners.

• I will work to expand the Star Scholarship to other students (and not just those that have a 3.0 GPA) so that less students have to pay for college.

• Parents need more childcare support that fits their educational goals for their children.

• The Gage Park Library needs a full-time Spanish speaker within their staff.

• The Chicago welcoming ordinance should be replaced with a sanctuary city ordinance.

• I will work with the new Assessor's office to ensure a fair system of property taxes for our ward.

• In Gage Park, almost half of the adults are without health insurance; in Garfield Ridge, 40% of the adults are without health insurance; in Archer Heights, 40% of the adults are without health insurance; in Brighton Park, 48% of the adults are without health insurance; in West Elsdon, 38% of the adults are without health insurance. The federal campaign for Medicare for all is gaining traction, and we should be a part of that.

(2) Our streets continue to see gun violence (and violence of other forms). Our young people are some of the most unemployed in the city, with fewer and fewer opportunities afforded to them. Victims of domestic violence have nowhere to go locally (the nearest provider and shelter is Mujeres Latinas en Accion in the Pilsen community). Stress, depression and other mental health issues need to be addressed.

• We should be investing in street intervention programs, diversified programs for youth (in and out of school) that include job training, and restorative justice approaches to problem solving.

• I will work hard to create an Art and Culture center in the ward. It will create educational opportunities as well as create paths for all people to enterprise their art (visual, performance, and literary).

• I will work to develop local support groups with the establishment of a sanctuary for victims of domestic violence or financial abuse. My goal is to have one in Gage Park, one in Archer Heights, and one in Brighton Park.

• I will work with young people to create safe spaces to discuss issues around identity, sexual orientation, peer pressure and interpersonal dynamics at home.

• A study (published 2017) conducted by a non-profit organization, Roots to Wellness, shows that the need for mental health services is high (based on a survey of 2,878 residents on the southwest side, which included people from Gage Park, Archer Heights, West Elsdon, and Brighton Park). At least half of the respondents in those communities expressed struggling with varying degrees of depression, with more than a third expressing issues with anxiety and acculturative stress. However, cost was the main issue in obtaining help (60% for those born outside of the U.S., and 45% for those born in the U.S.)

• A Sinai Urban Health Institute survey (2017) showed that in Gage Park, 59% of the women surveyed responded not feeling safe at night in their neighborhood, with males at 41%.

(3) We have a long-standing political culture that allows elected officials to make pecuniary gains from government and our public dollars. Specifically, there are politicians making money appealing property taxes for businesses, while the rest of us make up the difference. Even worse, public money is being spent every year, and we don't know how or why.

• I will support current legislation in Springfield that seeks to bar elected officials from representing anyone in tax proceedings before a government body.

• I will introduce my own legislation in the city council to bar elected officials from representing anyone in tax proceedings, and also bar political contributions from those seeking a tax reduction to elected officials.

• I will inform the ward about financial opportunities, so that we make collective decisions about how to spend money in the ward by engaging in participatory budgeting.

• Community engagement with the current alderman is very low. I will change that. I will work with leaders at the block level to ensure regular and consistent times for me to meet with their neighbors to discuss and resolve issues, together.

• I will impose a two-term limit on myself.

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