We live in a city where the interests of residents are ignored when it comes to decisions made about the public good. The city operates behind closed doors, making it hard to understand how and why decisions are being made. In office, I'll be making decisions based on the needs of the residents in my community, not outside interests. Maintaining a healthy democracy isn’t just about what decisions we make, but how we make them. Centering marginalized voices and working to build a more inclusive structure, especially focused on creating opportunities for future leaders, is a priority for me. I will continue programs like participatory budgeting and build additional opportunities for community voice around the issues that impact us.
We need to do a better job of engaging our young people. In my experience they are eager to be involved, we just have to do a better job of making the space and asking them to be involved. Other aldermen have established youth councils successfully and are currently using them as a tool to generate our next generation of civic leaders. We should be doing the same here in the 49th Ward.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND ETHICS IN CITY GOVERNMENT
Between spending millions of dollars on police misconduct payments, a long time Alderman being indicted for extortion, and decisions about our schools being made behind closed doors, we need to change the way the City of Chicago does business. There are a number of proposed policies I will immediately support, including the Fair Election Ordinances, measures to increase the power of the inspector general, supporting the new Police Consent Decree, CPAC, and an elected school board.
I’ve spent the last 10 years building two national nonprofit organizations that focus on civic engagement and participatory budgeting. When done correctly, participatory budgeting can be an important and meaningful way for individuals to be involved with their community. We need to work on building on the success of this practice in the 49th ward by (1) expanding the scope of what participatory budgeting can fund, and (2) applying these principles of democratic decision making to other community issues such as housing, education, and economic development.