After collecting more than 1,500 signatures supporting his election bid in the 35th Ward alderman elections, Carlos Rosa is ramping up his campaign to oust incumbent Ald. Rey Colón.
“I think this is going to be a historic election in voter turnout,” said Rosa. “Chicago is ready for change.”
Rosa said he decided to challenge Colón after seeing the current administration squander their time and not adequately help citizens in need. He graduated in  from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in political science and grew up in West Rogers Park where he attended Chicago public schools, he said.
Rosa is campaigning for a higher worker minimum wage for corporations that gross more than $50 million a year, a better relationship with residents and fighting political corruption, according to his website. He hasn’t been shy about calling out his incumbent opponent for “maintaining an unresponsive city government.”
“I love Chicago and I’m tired of watching the direction that it’s going,” said Rosa.
His opponent Colón, who has held the 35th Ward Alderman position since 2003, has been embroiled in one controversy after another. In July, he was arrested on the Eisenhower Expressway for an alleged drunk driving incident. Before that in May, he entered a feud with the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce when it was reported the executive director supported his challenger in previous elections.
Colón has also been accused of not doing enough for local communities that could benefit from affordable housing and associating with Mark Fishman, whose property management firm M. Fishman & Co., is accused of gentrifying Logan Square.
Colón did not respond to EXTRA’s repeated requests for comment.
But even with the recent controversies, Rosa has a challenging election ahead of him, said Kristi Sanford, communications director for The People’s Lobby.
“It is always a challenge to run against an incumbent,” she said.
The incumbent generally has more money and the connections to help with the campaign, said Sanford.
The People’s Lobby is a membership organization that lobbies against political corruption and endorses progressive candidates, according to their website. For Rosa to be able to defeat Colón, Sanford said he should be out speaking with voters door-to-door and spreading his message and platform.
“It is all about how many people you can organize,” she said.
The 2015 municipal elections are held Feb. 24 and include alderman elections in all 50 wards, as well as elections for mayor, city clerk and the city treasurer.