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Northwest Side Hispanics speak out in election battles

The residents of Logan Square have a wide variety of representation in the city council. The neighborhood is associated with five Wards in total: the 1st, 26th, 31st, 32nd and 35th.

On Feb. 26, the aldermen of these wards will be up for reelection. With the exception of incumbent alderman of Ward 32 Scott Waguespack, every candidate is running against one or more opponents.

There are three candidates in the 31st Ward: Milly Santiago (incumbent), Collin Bird-Martinez and Felix Cardona Jr. All three candidates have hispanic backgrounds.

“Hispanic representation is huge,” said Rousemary Vega, a 33-year-old resident of Humboldt Park who works in the Hermosa area. “It’s really important because we have a large Latino population. The hispanic population is growing by the minute.”

According to Data USA, the combined population of Logan Square, Hermosa and Avondale has a hispanic majority of 52.7 percent.

Vega explained that Humboldt Park, her own neighborhood, used to represent the Puerto Rican community, but has become too expensive for many Puerto Rican families to live there. She stressed that housing is one of the biggest issues on her mind. Rose Lanzarin, a 54-year-old resident of Logan Square, feels the same way.

“We need more low-income housing, affordable housing,” Lanzarin said.

In addition to voting for city council members, residents will also have the chance to vote for a new Chicago mayor. Rahm Emanuel decided not to run for another term, which leaves 14 mayoral candidates to choose from.

“The current mayor, I’m glad he’s not running again,” Vega said. “I would like to see a mayor that can understand and connect with the people that are most in need.”

Candidates in the 31st Ward are all active and familiar with the communities that they are trying to represent.

Milly Santiago, the current alderman of the 31st ward, assisted in the formation of “Ni una victima mas — Not one more victim,” a campaign that works to give a voice to women who have experienced domestic abuse. Head of the campaign, Lada Santolingo, has worked with Santiago for over 25 years.

“She was always concerned with the social subject, about the community, about the immigrants, about the women,” Santolingo said. “She has always been trying to help the people of our community.”

Native born resident Felix Cardona Jr. is a long time Logan Square community member that has given back in several ways. In 2010, he helped community members find jobs as he worked as the Director of Incentive Properties.

Candidate Collin Bird-Martinez has shown his support for the community through his work forming the Hermosa Neighborhood Association, an organization that raises money and works with the community to solve local problems. If elected, Bird-Martinez would be the city’s first openly gay African-American alderman.


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