Pete DeMay speaks about neighborhood priorities at the announcement of his campaign for 12th Ward alderman on Sunday, September 23, in McKinley Park.

DeMay Announces Candidacy for 12th Ward Alderman

Published September 24, 2018

McKinley Park neighborhood resident Pete DeMay announced his candidacy for 12th Ward alderman in a speech and rally next to the McKinley Park Community Garden on Sunday afternoon, September 23. Flanked by supporters and community members, DeMay outlined his priorities, focusing on a swath of issues and highlighting his independence from a Chicago City Hall status quo that has resulted in poor results for the ward, he said.

"We did not get here by accident," DeMay said. "We were driven here by a mayor and a rubber-stamp alderman."

Key issues facing the ward include safety, affordable housing, school funding, employment and local air and water pollution, DeMay said. He specifically pointed to the recently built MAT Asphalt plant, visible from the site of the campaign announcement, and pledged to remove it from the neighborhood.

"We will make [plant co-owner] Michael Tadin and his cronies move that asphalt plant," DeMay said. "We want a transparent, participatory process for development, and not more pay to play."

When asked after the rally what method would be pursued to force relocation, DeMay referenced his past successful fights against corporate interests as a union organizer. "We will figure out a leveraged strategy to get them to move," he said.

DeMay also spoke of the high levels of lead found in the water of many Chicago homes and the closure of a nearby mental health clinic, tying both elements to political priorities that he said favor downtown and wealthy areas of the city over the needs of common Chicagoans. The close cooperation between incumbent 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was a core theme throughout DeMay's campaign speech.

This campaign is DeMay's second run for 12th Ward alderman, having lost his bid against Cardenas in the February 24, 2015, municipal election. DeMay's name was removed from the ballot after Chicago's Board of Election Commissioners invalidated many of the signatures on his petitions for candidacy. In the election, DeMay won approximately 20 percent of the vote as a write-in candidate.

"We learned some hard lessons last time," DeMay said, vowing that his name would be on the ballot for the upcoming election. "We have a much broader base this time around."

In addition to Cardenas and DeMay, local community organizer Jose Rico has established a political action committee to support his run for alderman, however, the campaign has not yet published campaign information or publicly announced his candidacy.

DeMay described himself as a Democratic Socialist and said he stands apart from Chicago's entrenched Democratic hierarchy. "We will make sure the people of the 12th Ward are back in the drivers seat," he said. "We have been rattling around in the back seat for too long."

The City of Chicago municipal election, which includes voting for 12th Ward alderman, takes place on Feb. 26, 2019.

Video displays Pete DeMay's campaign announcement event as published on a Facebook live stream by Hard Lens Media.


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