Candidate for Chicago City Council

About the Candidate

Name: Troy Hernandez
DOB: 1981
Family: Engaged
Occupation: Executive Architect/Data Scientist, IBM
Political Experience: Pilsen Academy Local School Council 2014-2018
Website: troyhernandez.com

Candidate Statement

My name is Troy Hernandez and I’m running for alderman of the 25th Ward because I love this city and I know it can be so much better.

I’ve lived here for 18 years. My family has been part of the community going back 90. I did my undergrad and graduate work at UIC, earning degrees in mathematics, philosophy, and game theory. In 2013 I earned my PhD in statistics, specializing in machine learning. For the last 5 years I’ve worked in Chicago’s tech industry as a data scientist. I currently work for IBM. I don’t need this job. It’s harder work and it pays less, but I feel compelled to serve.

In the summer of 2017, I served as an AI mentor for the NASA Frontier Development Lab using AI to help defend the planet from solar flares and asteroids.

Since 2016 I’ve helped organized the Chicago R User Group which is dedicated to spreading the love of the free statistical programming language R.

I served on the Pilsen Academy Local School Council for 4 years and worked tirelessly to replace the incompetent principal.

For the last 8 years I’ve volunteered my time doing environmental justice work in Pilsen.

We shut down coal plants.

We handed out 300 lead water filters to families affected by water meter installations and water main replacements. The mayor finally took notice and copied our program a few months ago.

I’ve worked with the EPA to investigate the 30 year old Sims metal shredder kiddie-corner from Juarez High School. Just a few weeks ago the EPA announced a comprehensive settlement to clean them up.

My research, experience, and analysis tells me that fixing Chicago’s corrupt political system must come first. The Machine gerrymanders the wards to divide and conquer our neighborhoods. Special interests finance political campaigns so that politicians can more effectively lie to us. Ballot access is restricted and elections are scheduled in the dead of winter to reduce competition.

If we can fix the political system in this city, it’ll make fixing the schools and roads and parks and pensions a whole lot easier. And then it’ll really be “The City that Works.”

If you agree then vote for me, Troy Hernandez, for Alderman of the 25th Ward.

Candidate Q&A

What is your vision for this office?

I’m the only candidate that’s done the blue-collar work most people expect from aldermen; i.e. public works. I’m the only candidate that’s studied urban planning and published in a peer-reviewed transportation journal. So I have no doubt that I can provide the level of constituent services that people expect.

Beyond that, I hope to be a part of a city council that reforms Chicago politics. I’ve made the ward map part of my campaign logo to highlight the ridiculous gerrymandering of our ward. 4 years ago I proposed a campaign matching fund program like the one in New York City. If we can’t stop special interests from influencing our elections, we can at least amplify the voices of residents to match. Election day is in the dead of winter (February 26th) and the hurdles candidates face just to get on the ballot are many, that’s an effort to reduce political competition. If elected I’d even consider putting myself out of a job by reducing the number of aldermanic seats. We have 50 seats on the city council in Chicago. New York has 51 and 3 times the population! LA has 15 seats and 50% more residents. That suggests Chicago is not being terribly efficient with our city services or tax dollars.

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

It’s different in each neighborhood.

Pilsen needs affordable housing. We can subsidize potential buyers of owner‐occupied buildings to maintain affordable units. That helps out both middle and working class residents and maintains Pilsen as a mixed‐income community.

People in the ABLA homes want jobs. We need jobs programs so that anyone looking to work can find it.

Chinatown wants a high school. I’ve made a commitment to advancing strong neighborhood schools for strong neighborhoods.

The West Loop wants measured development. I’ve already made my commitment to ending gerrymandered wards and I refuse to take money from property developers so that residents know my decisions are only being influenced only by them.

Lastly, Chinatown, West Loop, Little Italy, University Village, and McKinley Park all want to be governed by a single alderman for their neighborhood. With one alderman they can hold that person to account. Right now the ward map divides and conquers those neighborhoods depriving them of representation.

For real reform, vote for Troy Hernandez.

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