The Chicago political landscape can be a fierce battleground and some of the most interesting races every year concern the choosing of aldermen.
These elected officials are in charge of providing services for their communities and improving them, and one candidate who hopes to achieve this is Carlos Ramirez-Rosa.
Ramirez-Rosa announced his candidacy for 35th Ward Alderman on Sept. 6 at a rally in Fireman’s Park in Avondale. Ramirez-Rosa is no stranger to politics as he has been active in progressive politics since 2006. He served as a congressional aide for U.S Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and is a deportation defense organizer with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
The campaign for Ramirez-Rosa is a significant one as he is the first openly gay Latino candidate for the 35th Ward Alderman. Although he served as a Democratic committeeman while attending the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the alderman race is the largest election he has partaken in so far in his career.
Many of Ramirez-Rosa’s issues during the campaign will consist of progressive topics, including investing in repairing public schools and raising the minimum wage, but one of the key issues he wants to address when elected is providing more services for ward residents.
“Speaking with my neighbors and my own experience, people in the community talk about the lack of quality of constituent services and how unresponsive [current] Ald. Rey Colon’s office can be,” Ramirez-Rosa said during a phone interview.
Along with providing better services for his constituents, Ramirez-Rosa hopes to cut through the government red tape and help residents in a timely fashion. He will try to do that by holding public forums and asking the people how they want to spend the designated funds a ward is given each year.
“Instead of me deciding who gets a new street repaired or a new park, it’s going to be ward residents who are going to vote through a participatory budget process about what it is that they want,” Ramirez- Rosa said.
The hope is that this will help his office decide what the key concerns of the ward are and how to deal with and fix them in an orderly fashion. But Ramirez-Rosa’s main point he wants to accomplish once elected is giving more power back to the ward and “making sure that Chicago belongs to the people.”