A Letter from Maria
This is an exciting time for Chicagoans. We are starting to change the way Chicago city government works. For too long, leaders in our city have done business behind closed doors and made decisions based on what’s best for corporate developers and political insiders, not for the people of Chicago. I ran for Alderwoman because I believed we needed a representative in City Council who not only reflects the progressive ideals of our community, but also represents its proud independence. I will be a leader who amplifies everyone’s voices to makes sure we have a people-centered plan that builds a strong, inclusive, and resilient ward and city for years to come. I have tried to do it through this point and will continue to do so moving forward.
A History of Public Service
I currently live in Rogers Park with my partner of 7 years, Natalia, and our two dogs, Finn and Mimi. I am originally from Columbus, Ohio, where I was raised in a strong union family, dedicated to hard work and serving others. I graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies. After graduating in 2002, I got a job in the Chicagoland area and it quickly became home.
By 2007, I had found community in Rogers Park. I bought a home, was working full time, and was starting a graduate program in International Public Service Management at DePaul University. Not long after I moved into a 39-unit condo building, the housing market crashed. The developer of our building abandoned the project, took our money, and fled the country, leaving us with a half-finished building and a lot of debt. We spent the next three years fighting to keep our lights on, pay our bills, and navigate a city government not prepared for the challenges we were facing.
This experience showed me how our city was failing to fully center the community in its decision making. For the last decade, I have worked with a dozen Aldermen in Chicago and several elected leaders across the country to facilitate meaningful civic education and participation. During this time, I learned the ins and outs of local government, especially here in Chicago, and have realized how crucial it is for elected officials to be politically independent leaders who empower communities to help tackle the challenges they are facing.
Independent Progressive Leadership
We need to continue shifting the culture of City Council so that it is full of independent leaders who will make decisions based on what’s best for our community and who will work collaboratively in City Council to address our city’s biggest problems.
Putting the People of the 49th Ward First
Since the beginning of my campaign and through Election Day, I have been hosting town halls and knocking doors so that I can hear directly from our neighbors about what we as a community want to prioritize. Those conversations have led to the following priorities:
1. Development Without Displacement
2. Championing our Neighborhood Public Schools
3. Building a Strong Local Economy
4. Centering Community Voice and Transparency
Other priorities include creating safe and healthy neighborhoods, generating progressive revenue, and protecting the environment.