Candidate for Chicago City Council

About the Candidate

Name: Matthew J. O’Shea
DOB: Aug. 26, 1969
Family: My wife Cara and I are lifelong residents of the Beverly/Morgan Park community. We have three children, Brigid (16), Patrick (14), & Eileen (12).
Occupation: Alderman, 19th Ward
Political Experience: Elected Alderman of the 19th Ward in February 2011, and was re-elected to a second term in February 2015. I represent the communities of Beverly, Morgan Park, and Mount Greenwood. In the City Council, I serve on eight committees: Aviation Chairman, Budget & Government Operations, Education & Child Development, Finance, License & Consumer Protection, Public Safety, Rules and Ethics, Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards.

Prior to being elected Alderman, I served as an aide to former Alderman Ginger Rugai, former State Representative Kevin Joyce, and former Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan. I was a delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston, representing the Illinois - 3rd Congressional District. I have served as the Democratic Committeeman of the 19th Ward since 2005.

I serve as the President of Special Olympics Chicago (Special Children’s Charities). I am a member of the Chicago Police Chaplain’s Ministry - Board of Directors, and The John McNicholas Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation - Board of Directors. I serve in an advisory capacity for the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences - Advisory Board, The Chicago Police Memorial Foundation - Advisory Board, and Chicago Says No More – Steering Committee. I am also the President of the 19th Ward Youth Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization that supports and hosts a wide variety of safe, healthy, educational youth programs for families in his community.
Website: 19thwardmobile.com

Candidate Statement

Hello. My name is Matt O’Shea and I serve as Alderman of the 19th Ward. For the past 8 years I have worked to improve our local public schools, stimulate economic development, and enhance public safety in Beverly, Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood. Working together, we have achieved many of our goals.

Families in the 19th Ward have access to high-quality public-school options and I have fought to bring much needed investment in our schools.

-$23 million dollars has been invested into Mount Greenwood Elementary School

-$20 million dollars has been invested into Esmond Elementary School;

-$2 million dollars has been invested at the CHSAS

We have had success on our commercial strips attracting economic development, welcoming quality new businesses such as

-Ain’t She Sweet Café,

-Americano’s

-Bacon & Jam

-Barraco’s Café

-B-Sides Coffee & Tea

-Buona Restaurant

-Capsule Boutique

-Firewater

-Joey’s Red Hots

-Open Outcry Brew Pub

-The Quilter’s Trunk

-Treadfit

-The Vineyard Banquets

We opened the Morgan Park Sports Center on a corner that had been vacant for decades. The 18-million-dollar state of the art gymnastics center/ice rink provides a safe recreational home for hundreds of 19th Ward families.

I work closely with Commander Harmon and the CAPS office of the 22nd District, and while I am encouraged by our progress, Public Safety will always be my top priority as your Alderman.

In the past year, overall crime in the 19th Ward is on a downward trend, we have seen a decrease in...

AG/Battery, Burglaries, Motor Vehicle Thefts, Robberies, Thefts

Violent Crime is down and Property Crime is down.

I love my community and am fully committed to working together with all of you to keep our neighborhood the best place to raise a family. Thank you.

Candidate Q&A

What is your vision for this office?

Since I became Alderman, we have seen a reduction in crime in the 19th Ward. While I am encouraged by the statistics, public safety will always be my top priority. I will continue to work with the Chicago Police Department to ensure that residents are aware of crime within the community. I also will continue to host seminars on crime prevention, identity theft, social media awareness for teens, and senior citizen protection.

In the last four years, we have enjoyed success on our commercial strips in attracting businesses. Our community has welcomed a number of new businesses, such as:

  • Ain’t She Sweet Café
  • The Quilter’s Trunk
  • Buona Restaurant
  • Treadfit
  • Capsule Boutique
  • B-sides Coffee and Tea
  • Baracco’s Café,
  • The Vineyard Banquets
  • Joey’s Red Hots
  • Open Outcry Brew Pub
  • Americano’s
  • Wonderburger
  • Bacon & Jam
  • Firewater

And, in 2015, we opened the Morgan Park Sports Center, an $18 million state-of-the-art indoor ice rink and gymnastics facility at the corner of 115th and Western. Prior to the development, that corner was vacant for decades. Today, that venue is the number-one

Chicago Park District facility in the city.

As Alderman, I plan to continue to work on attracting new businesses to our community and improve overall economic development. I believe the Alderman’s office is there to help potential business owners navigate the permitting and construction process in the city of Chicago. I want to continue to attract high-quality businesses to our area, and reduce the number of vacancies along our commercial corridors.

We have also made tremendous strides in improving our schools. In the last four years, more than $23 million dollars has been invested in Mount Greenwood School, including the addition of a new annex to help alleviate overcrowding. Over $20 million has been invested into Esmond Elementary School, which also received a new annex, turf field and playlot. We also invested more than $1.2 million dollars into a therapeutic riding barn at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, which allows the riding program to expand services to children and adults with special needs and veterans battling PTSD.

While we have made great improvements, I would like to expand funding and resources to additional schools in our community. For example, Morgan Park High School is the neighborhood public high school for all families in the 19th Ward. Unfortunately, a majority of families choose to send their students to parochial or selective enrollment high schools. Since 2011, I’ve fought for additional resources and new programs to Morgan Park. I will continue to work with the Principal, LSC and CPS leadership to improve Morgan Park High School.

I will continue to work with the Chicago Park District on improving some of our community parks. Ridge Park, which has been an anchor in our community for more than 100 years, needs major investment. For the past several years, I have worked with the Chicago Park District and Ridge Park Advisory Council to make badly needed improvements to the building and grounds. Last year, we conducted a comprehensive needs assessment and have begun with repairs to the roof and windows, much more work is needed.

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

I believe the most pressing issue in our community and the city of Chicago is crime. I am a staunch supporter of the brave men and women of the Chicago Police Department. I work closely with the Chicago Police Department to ensure the safety of our Ward. Since I became Alderman, crime in the 19th Ward has decreased significantly. Robbery, aggravated battery, burglary, and motor vehicle thefts are down. I have worked with the neighbors and civic organizations in the 19th ward to communicate that we must partner with CPD, they also need support from the community. The most important thing residents can do is to call 9-1-1 when they witness suspicious behavior. I host quarterly town hall meetings with residents, civic groups and the Chicago Police Department. I also host regular public safety crime prevention seminars throughout the 19th Ward. I speak with the district commander on an almost daily basis. I want to be sure that the concerns of our citizens are being heard and responded to.

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