"Joe Dunne is endorsed by the current and former Alderman in a crowded field. Joe praises Ald Osterman's approach to community engagement."
Joe Dunne has been endorsed for the 48th Ward City Council seat by outgoing Ald. Harry Osterman. | Dunne campaign photo
ON THE TRAIL: Ten candidates are on the ballot to fill the 48th Ward Chicago City Council seat that’s been held for more than a decade by retiring Ald. Harry Osterman — and his legendary mom before that.
The race has turned into something of an exercise in democracy for the North Side ward that’s already engaged in local politics. A recent standing-room-only community forum saw more than 500 participants. And last night’s forum saw about 300 people in-person, a representative with the organizing Association of Sheridan Condominium Owners estimated, plus more than 140 on the livestream.
“People care about our community. We show up,” candidate Andre Peloquin, a real estate broker, told Olivia.
There’s no clear frontrunner in the race, though Osterman and former Ald. Mary Ann Smith have endorsed Joe Dunne, a real estate developer involved in affordable housing. Dunne has also led in fundraising, followed by Nick Ward, a former restaurant worker involved in progressive groups; Peloquin; and Larry Svabek, a political science lecturer at University of Chicago.
“Harry's done a good job representing the various communities in the ward,” Dunne said of the current alderman. “His endorsement is validating.”
Two major issues: Public safety — a common theme across municipal races this year — and development.
“We’re basically living on top of each other, literally,” said Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, a small business owner running to be the first queer woman of color elected to the seat. “We all have to work together. That’s the spirit of the ward.”
In interviews, some candidates expressed concern about the extent to which the ward would stay affordable and nurture its characteristic small businesses.
“It’s honestly shocking how many buildings are vacant right now,” said Andy Peters, a cafe owner running for the seat.
Candidates mostly sidestep criticizing Osterman, who has a strong reputation for constituent services. Still, the candidates say it’s time for change.
“We really have a transforming city,” said Assistant Illinois Attorney General Isaac Freilich-Jones, who’s also in the race. “So, I don’t think we can rely on doing everything we did before to navigate those changes.”
Brian Haag, Roxanne Volkmann and Nassir Faulkner are also on the ballot.