By: Kyle Boone, Loyola Junior
“You guys can’t see specifically, but I have a lot more white hairs than when I started”
Those words came from current Alderwoman of the 49th ward, Maria Hadden, during a press conference held by Loyola students over Zoom, where students asked their most pressing questions.
Hadden is running for reelection. She believes there is still more to be done to benefit Rogers Park and its constituents.
Shortly after being elected in 2019, COVID swept the nation, Hadden was immediately faced with her first major problem within the 49th Ward, which may have factored into those white hairs. .
“I’m an action oriented person. So I really like if I’m stressed or if things are going wrong, I like to do things.”
And that is exactly what Hadden set off to do once the pandemic began.
She created a Rogers Park community response, launched a community college mutual aid organization, set up grocery delivery service, created a 24/7 multilingual phone hotline for people to call, and much more. There was a whole space that people could just go to get supplies for babies and infants.
This is not the first time Hadden has made an impact on her community. On her website, it states that before being elected Alderwoman, she was the Executive Director of Our City Our Voice. A national nonprofit organization she founded to enable communities and governments across the country to redesign democracy for more empowered and equitable participation. With her expertise in public participation being grounded in grassroots organizing efforts for social change.
With her previous success’ Hadden is certainly confident in her abilities and in what she has done for her community.
“I do have a skill set and a way about me and experience that I think make me a good person to be Alderperson in this role during this time, and I found it greatly rewarding as well to be able to like really serve the 49th Ward in the city of Chicago in very important ways.”
However, with the pandemic is coming to an end, people want to know what is something that Hadden is thinking about for the future?
When asked, Hadden said, “One of [my goals] is around economic development in areas of our ward that have been kind of divested for our border, whether that’s Park Street or one of those Howard Street.”
Hadden is a strong believer in development without displacement.
“Finding ways to not just bring in physical development… It’s really about finding ways to have investment in our people. And in this case, it’s focusing on our small businesses and the progressives that live in an area.”
This can specifically be linked to the new proposal by Hadden to put in 110 affordable apartments across from the Red Line Howard stop.
According to a Block Club Chicago Article, out of the 110 units 88 are to be reserved for households making at or below 60 percent of the area median income, which supports her vision of allowing affordable housing.
However, some people are not too happy with some of Hadden’s work.
As a member of the Chicago Police Department, Martin Preib, wrote an article addressing some of his concerns with Hadden.
In his article, Preib notes how Hadden followed the likes of Dave Savini when embracing Savini’s remarks of a warrant served on the home of Anjanette Young. Due to police error, police had entered the wrong house in search of a man allegedly armed with a gun. Hadden made claims to add more limitations placed on the execution of warrants. Preib believes this could eliminate “a law enforcement strategy that is essential to fight crime in her gang-infested ward.”
No matter the opinion on the matter, Preib states that police officers in Rogers Park’s 24th District have begun retiring at an alarming rate due to the election of Hadden.
Those in the class, who participated in the Zoom conference, all gave glowing reviews of Hadden and her openness to share with young people living in the ward.
Loyola student Egi Canie, who was also involved in the press conference said, “It was refreshing to see someone in office who is so caring and loves what they do. You can really tell that she is invested in the people of Rogers Park and looking to make it a safer and better place for all”
Before signing off she was asked why she should be reelected.
“I believe I deserve reelection for doing the things I said I would do. I build my platform on things I’ve heard from community members, and I’ve had accomplishments and success in everything people have asked me to work on”
Early voting in Chicago for the February 28, 2023 Municipal Election will start in late January, so make sure to check back in at https://chicagoelections.gov.