Candidate for Chicago City Council

About the Candidate

Name: Maria Hadden
DOB: Jan. 20, 1981
Family: Natalia Vera (Partner/Fiancee)
Occupation: Non-Profit Executive Director, Participatory Budgeting Expert
Political Experience: Maria has spent the last decade working with dozens of aldermen, and other local officials around the country, to implement participatory budgeting processes and build capacity for communities to engage with their local governments.

Candidate Statement

Hello, I'm Maria Hadden, and I'm running to bring independent, progressive leadership to Chicago City Council as the next Alderman of the 49th Ward.

We're in an exciting time of change in our city, where we have the opportunity to redefine how our government works, and to raise the bar on what we expect from our elected officials. I believe my experience and approach to leadership can help me bring the community’s voice into city council.

Over the last decade, I've helped build two national nonprofit organizations dedicated to making our cities better by bringing communities together, to make government more inclusive, transparent, and accountable to the people. This new form of collaborative leadership will allow us to center the people who are most impacted in the decisions we make, for the future of our great city.

It's time for fresh ideas and new perspectives to tackle the problems facing our community.

I will work to manage development without displacement, by working with the community to develop a proactive development plan for our ward to maintain affordable housing options.

I will champion our local public schools, by supporting an equitable funding formula, advocating for an elected school board, and making sure there are nurses and social workers in every school.

Finally, I want to raise the bar on ethics and good government. We need to promote transparency and accountability by allowing the public into our decision making process.

Above all else, my highest priority will be serving the people of the 49th Ward. So, to all the residents of the 49th, I look forward to earning your support and serving as your Alderwoman.

Candidate Q&A

What is your vision for this office?

I want to bring the 49th Ward’s community voice to city council. By that I mean I want to create a space where people impacted by a problem are invited to the table to be a part of the solution. This office should reflect the values of the community, which is best achieved through collaborative decision making and making sure individuals’ thoughts, concerns, and ideas are heard in city hall.

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

While I want to work with and for my community to strengthen our public schools, support our local businesses, and create a safe and healthy neighborhood, the most pressing issue is around housing affordability. We’ve seen rapidly increasing rent prices pushing low income people from their homes in neighborhoods throughout the city and we are starting feel those effects in our Ward. I believe rather than be reactive to what developers propose, our community should work together to create a vision for the next 5, 10, and 15 years so that we can be the ones starting the conversation, saying “This is what we need, how can you help us get there?” Things like community-driven zoning, and lifting the ban on rent control are tools we can use to allow us to foster development without displacement. Preserving low-income and affordable housing will be vital to maintaining the character of our community and will be central to all decisions I make once elected.