RACE: City Council - 31st Ward

About the Candidate

Name: Felix Cardona Jr.
Date of Birth: Dec. 10, 1974
Occupation: 31st Ward Alderman
Political Experience: Alderman since May of 2019
Political Party: Democrat
Website: felixcardonajr.com

Candidate Q&A

Why are you running?

My passion is to be a public servant to the community, not a political figure. To serve to my fullest potential to make the 31st Ward a place residents can be proud to raise their families and work to provide them with a good quality of life.

What does this office do well, and what needs fixing?

My office provides the best city services to the residents of the 31st Ward. What would need fixing is various city departments having a faster response time and more resources for our residents.

What is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how do you plan on addressing it?

The most pressing issue facing the 31st Ward is what the city faces as a whole: Public Safety. I work closely with our two police districts to stay informed about the activity taking place in the ward. In addition, my staff attends each CAPS meeting to hear directly from the residents. I also installed a camera at an intersection where there was increased activity. This camera was instrumental in identifying a suspect in an alleged kidnapping. It takes the concerted effort of CPD, my office, and residents to continue to tackle this issue.

What specific steps would you take to ensure your office is accessible and responsive to your constituents?

My office is available five days a week for residents to walk in, call, or email for city services and anything else my office can provide or direct. During COVID, our office had to shut its doors to comply with the governor's mandate. However, my staff was there working and serving the residents of the 31st Ward using office phones and email.

Do you believe in the tradition of aldermanic prerogative, which gives each City Council member the final say on issues in their ward?

I believe in aldermanic prerogative. Aldermen live in their ward and know its heartbeat. They know what the needs are of the residents, and what areas are underdeveloped, and can pinpoint areas where more police presence is needed. It makes the job of an alderman more difficult when decisions are not made that directly affect the ward in addition to knowing what would benefit its residents.

Should the $1.9 billion budget for the Chicago Police Department increase, stay the same or decrease?

We need to provide resources to our first responders. They have committed to serving and protecting this city and run to the call instead of running from it. In addition, they put their lives on the line for the public day in and day out. Their days off often are canceled and at times work long hours. We need to have the necessary resources and equip them to do their job.

Should the city raise the Real Estate Transfer Tax on properties sold for more than $1 million to fund programs to help unhoused Chicagoans?

In the 31st Ward, most of our real estate is under $1 million. I believe, there is more information needed regarding raising the Real Estate Transfer Tax on properties sold for more than $1 million for a decision can be made. In my opinion, there has not been enough time, research, or dialogue to give a definitive answer. I will, however, do my due diligence to find out more.

Should the city open and operate mental health clinics to provide free care to Chicagoans?

Mental health is a growing issue in our city. Anything the City Council can do for those who need and want the resources should have them available. I will continue to work with my colleagues to continue to move in that direction.

How should Chicago build the 120,000 homes it needs for low- and moderate-income Chicagoans?

Before Chicago begins to build 120,000 homes, the infrastructure and business districts need to be in place. It is not helpful when residents have to travel long distances for groceries or everyday necessities. Areas already with the infrastructure and business districts are where the city should look at building some of those homes.

What do you see as potential solutions to address the number of shootings in Chicago?

I have worked very closely with the two police districts in the 31st Ward and briefed of any shootings that have taken place. In addition, I have knocked on doors where shootings have taken place to obtain information and make the residents aware something is being done. According to everytownsresearch.org, Illinois has the seventh-strongest gun safety laws in the country and the ninth-lowest rate of gun ownership. I will continue to work with those in office--both federal and state--to ensure we are doing everything possible to reduce the number of shootings in Chicago.

How can the city better serve Spanish-speaking residents?

According to Illinois-demographics.com, Hispanics make up 28.7% of the racial/ethnic group in Chicago. I believe the city should have Spanish-speaking employees in critical departments that require interaction with the public. There are times Hispanic residents need to interact in their language, and there is no personnel who speak Spanish. Because my ward is predominantly first-generation Hispanics, everyone on my staff speaks Spanish, allowing residents who call or walk into the office comfort in knowing their request is understood and correctly handled.

Should the city do more to help undocumented immigrants?

I believe everyone is doing everything they can to help the undocumented immigrants who come to Chicago. My office has connected undocumented immigrants who need resources to community groups in our area, helping them begin a better quality of life and start a new chapter in Chicago. My office recently had a CityKey event where those serviced were from Venezuela.