"This first term has brought more challenges than any of us could've anticipated. Despite those challenges, I've made significant progress on the issues most important to our community. I look forward to continuing the work and advancing our goals over another term in office." - Maria Hadden
PROTECTING AND EXPANDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Our neighborhood is one of the only affordable places to live on the north side of the city, but current patterns of development threaten this. Preserving low-income and affordable housing and increasing accessible housing will be vital to maintaining the character of our community and will be central to all decisions I make once elected. I'll work with existing community organizations, regional planning bodies, and residents to create a comprehensive development plan to meet the needs of current residents and prepare us for the future.
SUPPORTING OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Our schools are the cornerstone of our community and are the best representation of the diversity of the 49th Ward. Our six neighborhood public schools, which serve predominantly low-income black and brown children, have been systematically underfunded for decades. I plan to work at the local level to bring more resources to the table so we can support the programs our schools need to boost enrollment, address capital improvement needs, and bring more community members into a relationship with our schools. In City Council, I will advocate for more accountability in Chicago Public Schools, an elected representative school board, and more equitable funding of all public schools. I will listen to the community’s request to freeze charter expansion in the 49th Ward until our public schools are equitably funded.
STRONG LOCAL ECONOMY
We have an economic system that favors the extremely wealthy and politically connected, which is making it increasingly difficult for working people to earn a living. As Alderwoman, I will support progressive, city-level initiatives to protect workers and generate new revenue. In the 49th Ward, I’ll work to keep dollars in our community and support our local businesses and entrepreneurs by bringing in additional resources and shining a spotlight on them publicly. In an economic system where many people are excluded, local businesses are often the main path to financial stability for immigrants and other new residents. Most importantly, when decisions are being made that will affect businesses in the 49th Ward, I will make sure that they will have a seat at the table so that their voices are heard.
SAFE AND HEALTHY COMMUNITY
Everyone deserves (1) access to affordable and quality healthcare, and (2) to feel safe in their neighborhood. While the national debates on healthcare and gun control continue, there are concrete, immediate steps we can take to make our communities healthier and safer. Whether it’s starting to address the root causes of violence and public health, or improving our community response to these problems, as a city we have to do better. Our community leaders have a responsibility to set an example and help bring people together. They also have a responsibility to ensure that the budget they approve clearly reflects our priorities by fully funding social services.
COMMUNITY VOICE AND TRANSPARENCY
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 most.