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38 years and counting…

Submitted on Thu, 03/01/2007 – 16:45.
Story by Silvana Tabares

Edward Burke will continue his 37-year reign as alderman of the 14th Ward, after easily defeating the first challenger he’s had in decades.

Burke defeated Paloma Andrade, garnering nearly 90 percent of the votes. Andrade won 10 percent, after a weeks-long battle to remain on the ballot.

Election officials had removed Andrade from the ballot a few weeks before the Feb. 27th election after her candidacy was challenged on the grounds that she sat in her car rather than collect the signatures needed to get on the ballot.

Andrade challenged the action, and just days before the election a court allowed her to remain on the ballot. In the end, she received just 575 votes, according to preliminary results compiled by the Chicago Board of Election.

Nearly 11,800 voters are registered in the 14th Ward, yet only 5,588 went to the polls. Still, more residents of the Southwest Side ward voted this year than in 2003.

Just hours after the election, political analyst Dick Simpson decried the low voter turnout in this year’s election on Chicago Public Radio’s Eight Forty-Eight.

Before winning a ninth term, Burke said in an interview that he appreciates the chance to represent the ward.

“I think the people here have afford me an opportunity that few people received,” he said. “I want to make sure that I act in their best interest and demonstrate that I am grateful for their support.”

Burke’s father, Joseph P. Burke served as alderman from 1953 to 1968; Burke succeeded his father shortly after his death.

“I think there is a historical tradition there that I want to continue to support,” Burke said.

Burke pledged to continue to be an advocate for education. He said the board of education has approved the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) to build new charter schools in the area.

“Here in the neighborhood I think most residents would agree that education is a priority,” he said.

At least three charter schools will be built at 47th Street and Richmond, where the Misericordia building was once located.

Burke also said he will fightcrime. He said gang activity has been a constant source of concern.

“People need to perceive themselves to be safe and secure in their neighborhood and travel with confidence,” he said.

Burke said the new housing development at 51st and Lawndale will add 500 new homes, and 650 additional new homes are scheduled for development where the tube and iron company was once located on 48th Street.

“I think developers have identified this neighborhood as a potential sight for new housing. The challenge of course is to keep it affordable,” Burke said. “My investment is here for the community. I’m not going anywhere. I am here to stay.”

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