By: Richard Song and Maura Horton (Loyola Seniors)
Ten candidates, focusing on issues such as public safety and affordable housing, are vying to replace 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman as their City Council representative.
Nassir Faulkner is the youngest candidate currently in the race. At 28-years-old, he plans to bring a fresh, new perspective to Chicago’s city council.
Faulkner started from humble beginnings. Raised primarily by the resilient women in his life—his mother and grandmother – Faulkner understood from an early age how important it is to have your voice be heard. He attributes his interest in politics to times in his youth when he would watch Sunday Morning Talk shows with his grandmother.
While attending DePaul University, Faulkner gained political experience working on Congressman Mike Quigley’s campaign. After graduating, he traveled around Illinois giving financial literacy presentations to youth for the Illinois State Comptroller’s office. He currently resides in Uptown and works in digital communications in the government sector.
*Interview has been edited for length and clarity
RogersEdge Reporter: Why did you decide to run for Alderman?
Nassir Faulkner: I think we need younger people to run for office. With the direction the city is going in, we need to change it up. We keep electing the same type of people. I [want to] bring new ideas to the city council.
RER: What will being elected as an Alderman mean to you? What will your responsibilities be?
Faulkner: If you need my help, my office is here for you. I want to set up advisory councils with the community to figure out what we actually need. I want to get as many people involved as possible. [There’s] a lot of rhetoric around. Very much zero sum. I want to be a voice that can calm the rhetoric. I want everyone to know that [if] either I or my office has jurisdiction over something, we’re going to help you.
RER: What is the “fresh perspective” that you provide given your prior experiences?
Faulkner: I think one of the top issues is public safety. I can come to the city council as a [28 year old] black male, who can actually relate to a lot of the young black men who are on the wrong path, frankly. It’s going to be really important especially when we’re talking about treating trauma I’ve dealt with. We’ve got young kids whose parents can’t afford all the bills. We need people who can relate. If you haven’t struggled in your life, it’s going to be hard for you to identify the struggles that people or a city are going through and then to legitimately sit down with these folks and come up with a plan, and then try to pass ordinances to resolve these issues. Public safety is one of those areas where we’ve been trying to really stand out, so that we’re not just saying “cops, cops, cops, cops, cops”. While CPD definitely has a role to play, there are other things we need to do to actually be safe in our city.
RER: What are some of the issues that are personal to you?
Faulkner: When it comes to affordable housing, I get it. I grew up in a single parent home. My first [bed]room was the dining room. I had a curtain wall as a door. I’m a renter now. With the rate of rent rising, I, too, may be priced out of the 48th ward. I hope to relate to these people and bring the issues to the city council.
RER: What will your first 100 days be like in an ideal world?
Faulkner: I think the first 100 days are going to be assessing what’s needed. [I want to] find out what we need to be working on. Getting those advisory councils set up. That’s going to be the best way for me to be in tune with what the community wants. We would probably be getting close to budget season as well. So, that would probably be something that would be at the top of my list of things to complete.
RER: How did you feel about current Alderman Osterman endorsing candidate Joe Dunne?
Faulkner: I’m not surprised. Status quo. That’s what I mean when I say we need new people.
RER: Not to be too negative, but have you thought about what you’ll do if you lose?
Faulkner: Take some time to breathe. Be a better boyfriend. My girlfriend hasn’t [seen me too often] with how busy I’ve been.
Election day for Alderman of the 48th ward will take place on Tuesday, February 28th. For information on early voting, registration, and finding your polling place, visit this link. For more information on the other candidates, check out RogersEdgeReporter.