What I'm Fighting For

I believe that quality healthcare, public education, affordable housing, and a living wage are human rights, and my votes on any given issue will always be viewed through that lens. Chicago can and should be a leader on progressive action, providing a model for cities across the country.

Equitable Access to Constituent Services

As alderman, I will ensure that the office is providing equitable city services for all parts of the ward. Further, I will be an active partner for residents and businesses, helping them navigate city government to get the services we all deserve.

Depending on what block you live on, your street may or may not be full of potholes. Your alley may or may not be maintained. Your streetlights may or may not work. Snowplows and street sweepers may or may not visit regularly. Your calls or emails to the ward office may or may not receive a response. We should not have to organize an entire block to receive service for our block. This isn’t equitable.

Every resident on every block throughout the ward deserves to have infrastructure maintained, calls to the alderman’s office returned promptly, and their voices heard by their elected representative. Furthermore, we need to make sure we have office hours accessible to working families.

Every resident on every block throughout the ward deserves to have infrastructure maintained, calls to the alderman’s office returned promptly, and their voices heard by their elected representative.

Education

As a mother of three, an LSC member, and a fundraiser for neighborhood schools, I firmly believe that education is a human right. I believe in the community school model to build strong neighborhood school and support for the families in our schools. I will continue to advocate for fully-funded schools and will work with LSCs and school leadership to enhance community outreach. I will make sure that our schools are a safe sanctuary environment for all of our children and their families.

Support for Working People

A strong community depends on high labor standards for its residents. I support a living wage for workers, strong unions, and family leave. Chicago has made progress in recent years on these fronts, but far too many families are not seeing the benefits. I believe that decisions on new programs should be guided by facts, and so I am in support of the new task force looking into implementation of a universal basic income program.

Small Business Support

Our ward is home to many thriving small businesses, and has great potential for the creation and expansion of many more. The alderman’s office should play an active role in making it easier for small businesses to open and be successful.

I believe in a comprehensive economic development plan for our communities that supports the growth of small and minority owned businesses that meets the needs of our communities. Because the ward shares multiple neighborhoods with multiple aldermen, it is important to also work on the big picture for each neighborhood. I believe city government can aid residents looking to open new small businesses to successfully navigate through the bureaucracy that poses a barrier to many would-be entrepreneurs.

Housing Affordability

Housing is a human right, and I will fight to ensure that affordable housing in our ward is truly affordable. We can build a ward that is accommodating to all residents, whether they’ve been here three months, three years, or three generations.

Rents are rising faster than incomes, and long-time residents of our ward are being forced out. In fact, just this academic year my sons’ school has families withdrawing nearly every month because they can no longer afford living here.

An alderman has the ability to affect housing stock and affordability through zoning decisions and by imposing requirements that developers must offer on-site affordable units in any new development. On the City Council level, I would advocate to allow safe construction of rental coach houses to once again be a part of the housing mix and expansion of co-op developments to make it easier for families to buy in the community, and support landlords who charge below market rates when they need to make expensive repairs, to maintain quality housing stock at affordable rates.

My Housing Plan of Action consists of:

Helping Families Put Down Roots

Limited-equity co-ops offer low down-payments on units and get favorable tax treatment in exchange for an agreement that limits the amount of equity earned by any unit in the building. This gives families an entry point into owning their own homes and by capping the equity that can be earned earned, the affordability of co-op buildings is preserved for future buyers. I will work to bring more co-ops to the 35th Ward, and will use my office to educate people on co-op ownership.

Increasing Housing Stock

I support legislation to legalize Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) such as coach houses and garden units. This is a low-hanging fruit solution that will increase housing stock while providing homeowners with a new source of income.

Responsible Development

If we want more affordable housing, we must have more housing - it’s a simple matter of supply and demand. Demand in our area is higher than the supply, and so costs are rising. I support responsible, equitable Transit Oriented Development, allowing mid-range density near transit corridors so that residents do not need to rely on cars to access the rest of the city. When planning this development, we must identify sites where we wish to put affordable housing, and plan as though that housing is already in place to plan for traffic mitigation accordingly.

Managing Existing Housing

By working with local landlords, developers, housing advocacy organizations, and nearby aldermen, we can more effectively manage and market the affordable housing that already exists or will soon exist in our neighborhoods. I will work with stakeholders to form a task force to create a database of affordable housing units, connect those in need of housing with those landlords, and assist landlords in covering administrative costs such as credit checks on prospective tenants.

Housing For Undocumented Immigrants

Undocumented immigrants, one of the most vulnerable populations in our communities, are not eligible for any affordable housing that uses federal funding. This is why we need a variety of available housing from other resources in our community to stop displacement. My office will have a staff position dedicated to being a liaison with the undocumented community, and connecting immigrants with affordable housing will be a key part of that role’s portfolio.

Securing Land Grants

I will work with local neighborhood organizations to help them secure land grants to purchase abandoned homes at a low price, do repair work and sell them to families at an affordable price. This allows families to begin building equity.

Keeping Affordable Housing In Our Neighborhoods

I would require that any housing built in the community fulfill the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO) on-site or within the ward instead of paying an ‘in-lieu’ fee.

Community Input Pledge

My pledge to the community is to maintain a transparent, open process when considering zoning changes and housing plans throughout our ward. Every plan will be made available for members of the community to assess via my website and other outlets, and will have a comment period where residents, stakeholders, advocacy groups, and potential tenants will have the opportunity to give their input via a combination of public meetings, conference calls, and email communications.

Equitable Transit and Mobility

Transit accessibility can lower housing prices, raise local business revenues, promote public safety, and increase employment opportunities for residents. A successful transit plan provides equity across racial and economic groups.

As CDOT updates the traffic flow around Logan Square and across the ward, we must ensure that they are doing so with an eye toward equity of access for people of all racial and economic backgrounds. I will prioritize cyclist safety by advocating for safe bike lanes throughout the ward, and ensure that CTA routing decisions are made to the benefit of all residents.

Health and Wellness

Access to quality healthcare is a human right. We need more accessible healthcare options in our community, including mental health services. We should not only support the health and wellness of the students in our public schools but also their families and neighbors.

Safety

We should all feel safe in our community. Safe communities are built on trust: trust that our neighbors know who we are, trust that we will look out for one another as a community, trust that we will not be harassed walking down the street in our community, and trust that those sworn to protect us will protect all of us without prejudice. Amanda will work towards reducing gun violence and will advocate for a justice system held accountable for how it treats those it encounters.

Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility

Both in the ward and across the city, Chicago needs a more responsible sustainability plan. I will fight for a stronger recycling program and more access points across the city to recycling services; distribution of free rain barrels to any resident who wants one; a community solar energy program for businesses and homeowners; expansion of the Green Alley program; and increased support for urban beekeeping and gardening.

Inclusive Democracy Leads to Good Planning

We need to institute long-term urban planning for our ward, for our roads, lights, businesses and green space. I believe in being thoughtful in our planning so that it is equitable, it is considerate of current cultural features, and it doesn’t further marginalize vulnerable populations. A ward office that is focused on two-way communication and outreach can make ensure that all voices are heard in planning decisions.

Effective Coordination With City Departments

A responsible, effective alderman would be coordinating with city departments to ensure that infrastructure maintenance is being done in the most cost-effective, least disruptive way possible. A common example of wasteful spending is the resurfacing of a street that is due for water main work just a few months later. By failing to do this coordination work, we are paying twice for the same work, and residents have their streets out of service twice. This money could be going to other use.

Being Present and Engaged in the Ward

The alderman represents everyone in the ward. As alderman, I will hold working family-friendly office hours, satellite hours in neighborhoods throughout the ward, and provide more comprehensive communication to keep residents updated on items ranging from community issues to street closures, City Hall happenings to CTA station repair work.

Progressive Policies Need Partnership to Succeed

To move us forward on any of the issues we care about, we must work on building bridges rather than divisions. If you are the only “yes” or “no” vote on an issue, it is probably because you didn’t do the work to build support for your position. This may help you get a headline, but it won’t move us forward together on the issue at hand. I will work with other aldermen to ensure that City Council isn’t just a rubber stamp on the Mayor’s agenda---that we are using our votes to move us forward to allow Chicago to live up to its potential as a progressive leader in our country.