By ALLISON MATYUS
The special election for the 4th Ward Alderman is still six months away, but candidates are already lining up in hopes of landing on the Feb. 28 ballot.
Former alderman Will Burns resigned in March, and since then, community members have been focusing on the future aldermanic leadership for the 4th Ward, which covers parts of the South Loop, Bronzeville, Kenwood and Hyde Park.
Three community members have announced their plans to run in the special election and are eager to start getting those signatures on their nomination papers come Aug. 30.
Jack Taylor, a member of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO) and a life long 4th Ward resident, said he has decided to run to bring back real democracy to the ward.
“The true meaning of service is to listen to what people want,” Taylor said. “I have never seen a politician go to his constituents and ask them what they want.”
As an alderman, Taylor said that he would use social media to better allow communication between himself and the constituents. He said the important thing for the next representative of the 4th Ward is to ensure that they serve their constituents.
“There’s a difference between a political leader and a political servant and we need someone who serves,” Taylor said. “I’m not going to tell people I want them to vote for me, I’m going to tell them that I want you to vote for you because I am there to serve them.”
Another candidate, Ebony Lucas, said she decided to run for the next election after Burns won in 2015. As an attorney who practices real estate law, Lucas said she knows there are resources available to solve problems but that it’s a matter of making them available.
“In order to help people, they need to be connected to the right resources and I understand what resources there are,” Lucas said. “All of those opportunities are out there but you have to have a representative who is willing to make those available.”
She said connecting resources like non-profits, churches and other city programs could help improve schools without dipping into funds. Lucas also said that she thinks the ward could benefit by being divided into quarters and having a town hall meeting at each quarter every week to get the chance to hear and respond to all constituents.
“Community engagement is big for me,” she said. “We need to allow the community to be engaged before decisions are made and then we find things out after the fact.”
Lucas said that as far as Ald. Sophia King (4th) goes, she thinks the community still deserves a choice in the matter of their representative.
“She’s not an incumbent, she’s an interim until we can have the election,” Lucas said. “[The voters] still deserve a voice and a choice and I’m running because I know I can be an advocate and represent the ward.”
Candidate Marcellus Moore, Jr. applied for the interim 4th Ward seat in March that ultimately went to King. He too said that he was prepared to run in what would have been the 2019 aldermanic election.
“My biggest thing is we are now on our third alderman since Toni Preckwinkle left in 2010,” he said. “With all that is going on [in the ward] there needs to be more stability, leadership and representation with moving the ward forward.”
Moore is an attorney at The Law Alliance Group, but he is also involved in a number of organizations’ boards as well as the Hyde Park-Kenwood Legends and is a local school council member for Shoesmith Elementary School.
Moore said he is anticipating this election to be a big one for the ward and said he would not be surprised if there ended up being 10 candidates with a run-off election, which would happen on April 4.
“If nothing else, at the end of the day, I want the folks in the 4th Ward to have good people to choose from and I’d like to think that I am one of those people,” Moore said.
Candidates for the 4th Ward will start collecting signatures beginning Aug. 30. They need 473 signatures by Nov. 28 to have their name on the election ballot.