Candidate for Chicago City Council

About the Candidate

Name: Marianne Lalonde
DOB: Sept. 3, 1986
Family: I’m the daughter of a nurse and a retired Naval scientist. My only sister is a hospital worker in Pittsburgh who is currently striking to form a labor union at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Occupation: Research & Development Consultant, PreScouter
Political Experience: I worked as a science policy advisor in the office of US Senator Sherrod Brown from 2014-2015. I worked directly on Toxic Substances Control Act reform, the 1st chemical reform since the 1970s, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2016. I also wrote law that made it easier for government scientists to take leaves of absence to begin start-up companies, bringing technology and new jobs into the private sector.

Locally, I’m a block club president, a member of the Clarendon Park Advisory Council, Committee to Save Uplift High School, the Associates’ Board of Sarah’s Circle and the North Lake Shore Drive Study Task Force.

Candidate Statement

My name is Marianne Lalonde and I'm running for Alderman of the 46th Ward. I’m a Ph.D. Scientist who has worked on Capitol Hill drafting environmental policy, a block club president, and a progressive leader in our neighborhood. I understand the issues facing our community, and am the only progressive candidate with a history of activism in the 46th ward. I won’t be influenced by developers, outside interests, or machine politics, like our current Alderman, James Cappleman.

I’m the only scientist running in all 50 wards, and if elected, I would be the first scientist to ever serve on Chicago City Council. We need a scientist not only to advocate for science-based causes like healthcare and the environment, but also because scientists are detail-oriented decision makers that can examine data critically and effectively.

The people of the 46th ward take pride in our diverse, multicultural history. As new residential developments are built and the entertainment district expands, preservation of our ward’s character as an equitable and inclusive neighborhood is paramount. We need to prioritize continued access to assets that serve the entire community, such as keeping our Wilson Ave. ramp to Lake Shore Drive open, maintaining the historic Clarendon Park community center, and increasing enrollment at Uplift High School. Community benefits agreements for the new theaters entering our neighborhood can help ensure our area stays safe, affordable, and economically thriving without compromising our identity. A large part of being an alderman is attending to the day-to-day needs of community members. As president of the Lakeside Area Neighbors’ Association, I already listen to and address neighbors’ concerns about overflowing trash cans, pet waste and parking.

I invest every hour of my free time back into the 46th ward. Being alderman will allow me to continue the work that I’ve already been doing and pursue a truly progressive agenda for the ward’s working families. I’m Marianne Lalonde - I’m a scientist, block club president, and a leader in our community, and I’m asking for your vote on February 26, 2019.

Candidate Q&A

What is your vision for this office?

I want the Alderman’s office to accurately reflect the values and needs of our whole community, not just a group of select few. I want decisions in our community to be made transparently, with adequate opportunity for public input that creates a more inclusive and equitable 46th ward.

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

The need for TIF reform is one of the most pressing issues facing constituents.  Here in the 46th ward, we need TIF funds to repair the Clarendon Park community center.  The community center brings neighbors from all different backgrounds together - from the Clarendon-Garfield Model Railroad Club, to Kuumba Lynx, a hip hop after school program, to community gardeners. Instead, TIF money from this area, adjacent to the second highest poverty census tract on the north side, was used to subsidize a luxury high rise across the street.  The developers used some of the TIF money to pay into the low-income housing trust fund so they wouldn’t have to include as much affordable housing on site in their development.  This developer took property tax revenue meant to benefit low-income families, and literally used it to make sure low-income families wouldn’t have a place in the new residences he was building.  This kind of displacement divides our neighborhood into two segments that coexist—not a cohesive community.  If elected, I would support major TIF reform, including a complete ban on giving TIF money to luxury housing developers.  I would also prioritize parks and green space by creating a mandatory clawback program for open space impact fees.