On Feb. 26, the 1st ward went to the polls to determine its alderman, and first-timer Daniel La Spata received a decisive victory over incumbent Proco “Joe” Moreno. La
Now, with just under two months until he’s sworn in on May 20, La Spata reflects on the campaign, the election night, and
La Spata, whose birthday happened to fall on election day, received some key advice to get through the tense waiting game that comes with elections.
“Everyone said, ‘Don’t look at anything for the first hour, just go relax’ so I just went home and listened to music,” he said.
“The quiet lasted until about 11 percent of the votes were in, but after
The last two aldermanic elections were decided by thin margins, and many expected the same as both La Spata and Moreno ran tense campaigns against each other. La Spata consistently criticized Moreno’s close ties to real estate developers and abuse of aldermanic power, while Moreno accused La Spata of belonging to a “anti-gay cult” and taking money from white supremacists.
“Seeing how he’s run campaigns in the past, I always assumed this would be a tense election,” La Spata said. “But while I’m frustrated by the decisions I’ve seen him make and see him making now, I don’t wish him any ill will.”
Some of the decisions La Spata is referencing is Moreno’s vote to approve the Lincoln Yards plan, something he vowed to vote against prior to the election.
“I just think it’s the wrong call,” La
La Spata’s campaign centered heavily on zoning reform, affordable housing, and transparency within local government. Now set to take the aldermanic office in May, La Spata is ready to hit the ground running.
“My immediate priority is really just to try to meet people’s expectations. I know there’s no grace period so right away I want to make sure I use my staff effectively, and to really work with various organizations and associations of the 1st ward on a uniform building practice.”
Further, La Spata plans to collaborate with community stakeholders to identify and attack the issues that face education and public safety within the 1st Ward.
La Spata’s election comes at a time of immense political shift in Chicago.
“We are very broadly seeing a rejection of machine and corrupt politics, he said. “I think there is a real sense that we are making a break from the past, and looking for a new way to govern. You see in the mayoral race, with so many competitive runoffs. It’s an exciting time and we need to make the most of it.”
While La Spata won the election decisively, he is still a freshman when it comes to holding political office, and he is aware of the pressures that come with that responsibility. As a result, La Spata is determined to be engaged with the community so he can be held accountable.
“I’m going to try my best to be present and in relationships with organizations and stakeholders that have already been doing work on the ground,” he said. “Further, I want to make sure I fairly represent the people who brought me to victory; this was a community-driven election, and making myself available and