Four 1st Ward candidates to participate in first local forum January 7: Wicker Park Committee


Candidates Forum -- Wed., Jan. 7, at 7 p.m.

On Wednesday night, Jan. 7, starting at 7 p.m. in the Wicker Park Lutheran Church, at Hoyne and LeMoyne, the Wicker Park Committee (WPC) is presenting the first of the local candidate forums or debates for the Aldermanic races in the 1st and 2nd Wards.

There are four candidates who want to grab the 1st Ward's golden ring. They are Andrew Hamilton, Ronda Locke, incumbent Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno and Anne Shaw.

To allow as much time for candidates to make statements about specific issues, there will be no candidate introductions/bios. All of these candidates have been at previous WPC meetings with an opportunity to introduce themselves. In addition, the four 1st Ward candidates' profiles are listed below.

There is a second story about the six 2nd Ward candidates.

1st Ward Race

Initially there were 5 candidates. Two, Hamilton and Mia Lopez, were challenged. Hamilton survived the challenge, Lopez did not.

The format for Wednesday evening begins with the 1st Ward section promptly at 7 p.m. Be sure to be in the building before 6:30, if you want to participate in the membership meeting that will be brief. There is one Preservation and Development project that will be presented.

There will be 5, possibly 6 questions, from Alisa Hauser, DNAinfo. Each candidate will have a maximum of two minutes to answer. Whether they refer to other candidate's positions on the subject is up to each speaker.

The same format will be followed for the 2nd Ward however they will be questions from this writer (Elaine Coorens). 

At approximately 9 p.m. there will be one question from Hauser to all candidates followed by one question from Coorens. These questions will be applicable across ward boundaries. Each candidate will have 1.5 minutes to respond to each question.

Moreno has indicated that he must leave early. To accommodate his schedule, the two ending questions will be given to him before the 2nd Ward section begins. The rest of the 1st Ward candidates will be part of the ending round. 

Below are the profiles for the 1st Ward candidates.


Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton 

Andrew Hamilton began practicing as an attorney in 2007. Three and a half years ago he opened his own practice as a trial attorney practicing civil litigation.  

Originally from Kentucky, he has lived in Ukrainian Village since 2008. A member of several organizations in law, business and community, he finds that his business hours consume most of his time.  

Hamilton, single, values "hanging out" time with friends and family as a break from his heavy work load. 

He believes the qualities he possesses that make him best qualified for the 1st Ward are his abilities to listen, identify issues/problems, find solutions and be a guide to the person who accomplishes the solutions.  

"That is what I do in the private sector. It is a tremendous responsibility and an honor to do that. I want to transfer that to the public sector," comments Hamilton.  

"As an alderman, I see addressing quality of living issues such as safety and streets and sanitation utilization as micro tasks. I see the macro taskas being the voice of the 1st Ward in City Hall."  

In office
His intent for the job as alderman is to make it his full-time job. "I will maintain my license, but I would not be litigating," he explains. 

He lists a to-do list that he will address, if elected. Those items are: 

  • Develop a mobile application for residents designed to increase awareness and efficiency in fixing potholes, graffiti tagging, snow removal, street lighting and more (quality of living) efficient manor
  • Decrease graffiti and crime
  • Increase community safety
  • Encourage job growth in the community
  • Work to make the 1st Ward greener
  • Increase the arts, music, and theater presence
  • Improve transparency in education
  • Consider more efficient use of tax dollars in making repairs in the 1st Ward
  • Voice 1st Ward concerns at City Hall  

What is the most important item on that list
Hamilton said city services and safety are the most important items to address first. In order to address them, he said that "City services would require dealing with the City infrastructure. On safety, it would be working with the [police] commanders getting more officers on walking beat patrols. There is a lot of effectiveness in getting residents to know the police and the police knowing the residents. We need more 'see something say something.'"


Ronda Locke

Ronda Locke

A resident in East Village for close to 10 years, Ronda Locke and her husband Peter are parents of two daughters who attend Chicago Public Schools. 

Prior to moving to the area, Locke was in corporate marketing for 17 years. Since then she has worked as a marketing consultant. In that period, she became a 1st Ward staffer in Alderman Moreno's office for two years from 2010 to 2012. As such, she was the liaison with the Chicago Police Department and was the Director of Community Outreach to community groups, parks and schools. 

In the area of education, Locke was twice elected to a Local School Council, is a former Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) board member, is a volunteer with Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education and supports Chicago Public School teachers. 

Locke serves as President of the Commercial Park Advisory Council, helping bring three new pocket parks to the 1st and 2nd Wards. Elsewhere in the community, Locke has served on the East Village Association Board and was on the committee for re-purposing the 13th Police District Wood Street Station.

Her combination of being a business person, having worked in City government and being a volunteer is what Locke believes makes her unique in this race.

"I have a history of gaining consensus and collaboration to achieve results proactively instead of re-actively," she says. 

In Office
As a full-time Alderman, Locke's target list for activities are: 

  • Encouraging collaboration with community residents, local businesses and local organizations to strengthen all corners of the ward
  • Advocate for elected representative school board leading the Chicago Public Schools
  • Work for increased Chicago Police Department resources and community engagement to ensure our community's safety
  • Prioritize the community's voice in zoning decisions
  • Encourage every neighborhood collaborate on the development and implementation of a master plan
  • Allocate the 1st Ward $1,3 million menu money through a participatory budgeting process
  • Prompt response to Ward office requests  

What would be the first thing you would address?
"The first step is to have a more responsive office so that multiple issues can be worked on concurrently.

The top three issues are public safety by getting police districts fully staffed and enhancing the CAPS program; establishing clear, transparent guidelines for how development would proceed; and advocating for public education." 


Proc "Joe" Moreno

Proco "Joe" Moreno

Incumbent Proco "Joe" Moreno was originally appointed to the position in March 2010, by Mayor Richard M. Daley after Manny Flores garnered a State position. Moreno ran and won the office in the 2011 election, a better outcome than his loss in 2008 for the 2nd District State Senate seat.

He moved to Wicker Park in 1997 after completing college, where he studied Business and Art. Working in a printing plant, he went back to school part time, completing his MBA at DePaul in 2003. He advanced up the corporate ladder to Vice President. As of last year his family size increased to four when he married Celena Roldán. The blended family includes Moreno's daughter and Roldan's son.

In the community, he served on the Jose De Diego Community Academy Local School Council from 2008-2010 and on the Humboldt Park Social Services Board. He is a graduate of UNO's (United Neighborhood Organization) Metropolitan Leadership institute and takes much pride in founding the Wicker Park Chapter of the Campaign To End the Death Penalty. 

While many aldermen and aldermanic candidates are attorneys, Moreno feels that his experiences at the grassroots level in the community and his business background make his qualifications unique.  

In Office
Moreno believes in progressive legislation in addressing:

  • Accessibility
  • Accountability
  • Education
  • Jobs

He gives examples of his legislative work by listing current ordinances that he introduced or sponsored: minimum wage, plastic bags, transit oriented developments as well as targeting Chicago Housing Authorities (CHA) with "keeping the promise." That ordinance provides that the millions of dollars in the CHA coffers are reported to City Council, giving them oversight to make sure vouchers are being utilized.

With 65% of the City employees not earning sick time, another ordinance aims to make sick time required.

What would be the first thing you would address?
Build on success in bringing resources to the ward such as texting reminders to move cars for street cleaning, graffiti removal and setting up satellite "offices" around the Ward.  


Anne Shaw

Anne Shaw

Anne Shaw is a lawyer whose firm opened in November 2003 and has 9 people covering a broad range of legal services. She has been an active member of the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago (AABA), providing organizational leadership, training and pro bono services. In 2010 she received the Sandra R. Otaka Leadership AABA's for her work in the legal profession and the community. 

Past President of a Law Foundation, Shaw was appointed by Toni Preckwinkle to the Cook County Board of Ethics. She served for four years in the non-paid position, stepping down in 2014. 

She and her husband Matt moved into East Village 10 years ago and she has been involved in various issues in the community ever since, serving on the East Village Association (EVA) board. As an advocate for the police, she attends CAPS meetings regularly.  

Her first major fight in the area began in 2011. She championed saving the 13th Police District. That was followed by running for 1st Ward Democratic Committeeman against Moreno and Jesse Juarez in 2012. 

Professional work requires her to identify problems then find solutions. In her grassroots activities, she learned to create an environment as she implemented solutions. 

As a Civil rights attorney, she works with all types of persons and their diverse backgrounds. As a volunteer, she explained, that she also honed her ability to get the most out of limited resources.

A community activist, Shaw says that her road map to achieving her goals is having a plan of action. 

In Office
Knowing that the position of Alderman requires a more than 40-hour week, Shaw indicts that she would be a full-time alderman. Her plans for the office include:

  • Transparency and ethics in government
  • Working with community organizations
  • Establishing volunteer committees to address ward problems
  • Keep commitment to public safety issues
  • Fully fund public schools  

What would be the first thing you would address?
"Take a comprehensive survey of the entire ward to use as the basis of a 10-year plan for ward."

Reminder: The election is February 24 and any runoffs will be on April 7.



Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Insert images and media with <pp_img> or <pp_media>. See formatting options for syntax.

More information about formatting options