Seven candidates are battling to unseat West Side Ald. Monique Scott less than a year after she took over the role previously held by her younger brother.
Last spring, Michael Scott Jr. left local elective politics to become director of industry and community relations at Cinespace Studios. To replace him, Mayor Lori Lightfoot appointed his older sister, Monique Scott, who at the time was working for the Chicago Park District.
Some have argued the selection is yet another example of political nepotism in a city dominated by family dynasties.
But Ald. Monique Scott, 51, says she has the credentials for the job. She’s born and raised in the ward, with a bachelor’s degree from Jackson State University and an MBA from National Louis University — both historically black colleges or universities — and she has eight years of service for the city park district.
According to Ald. Scott, the 24th Ward — comprised mostly of the Lawndale neighborhood — has been in a “slump” for her entire life. If elected to a full term, she plans to continue advocating for new community development, working closely with the mayor’s Invest South/West program.
Nearly every candidate running for alderperson agrees the ward is in need of serious investments — but the appointed incumbent’s seven opponents argue it will take fresh leadership to make that happen.
This will be the third time Vetress Boyce, 58, has run for 24th Ward alderperson. As an entrepreneur and business owner, Boyce says it’s time the ward office operated more like a corporation, with “well qualified individuals” working efficiently to bring money into the community.
“What issues do we have? We have them all,” Boyce said. “And how do we combat that? We have to start with redeveloping our ward — we need money, we need investments.”
Small business owner Creative Scott, 50, who is no relation to the current alderperson, and community activist Traci Treasure Johnson, 35, have also previously run for the office.
Creative Scott owns Creative Salon on the West Side and runs a youth barbershop training program. The shop is a safe haven for area residents, he said.
Creative Scott is also a firearm safety instructor and has been developing a city anti-violence program. He believes he is the candidate best suited to tackle the issue of public safety in the ward.
Johnson is one of the younger candidates in the race — and if elected, she plans to push a progressive agenda that addresses the issues impacting young people.
One initiative she hopes to implement would entail paying local youths to help clean up the ward.
“Our young children, they’re dying fast, and we have to have someone in office that cares, has compassion, and has the ability to provide and show the community that they will be vocal.” Johnson said.
But Johnson is not the only young community activist in the race. At 30 years old, Edward Ward says he is “unapologetic” and “unafraid” to challenge those in power.
Much of Ward’s work has centered around ending the school-to-prison pipeline, and he has been a vocal advocate for implementing more restorative justice practices in city schools.
If elected, Ward said he will also work to re-establish community trade schools and ensure residents are given priority when city contracts are awarded.
Drewone Goldsmith, 52, considers himself a bit of an expert in new developments. The Chicago Fire Department lieutenant said he was the general contractor on a majority of renovation projects along the rapidly changing strip of Ogden Avenue.
Goldsmith says there has been a “holding pattern of blight-ness” in the ward and believes he has the knowledge and discipline, as a CFD official and former Marine, to rebuild.
Candidates Luther Woodruff Jr. and Larry Nelson did not respond to the Sun-Times’ request for interviews. According to his campaign website, Woodruff is an employee with the Department of Streets and Sanitation.
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February 19, 2023 at 08:19AM