By: Aisha Ali (Loyola Junior)
The 48th Ward is one of 50 legislative districts in Chicago that elect an alderman every four years. These 50 legislators make up the Chicago City Council. The 48th Ward includes part of Edgewater, Andersonville, and Uptown. Ten candidates are vying for this place this year.
Joe Dunne, a longstanding resident of Edgewater and vice president of Bickerdike Redevelopment Company, is one of those ten. With a focus on affordable housing, Dunne feels that his more than 15 years of real estate experience will be beneficial to his candidacy.
Dunne wants to increase public safety while also making sure that community schools receive fair financing and high-quality instruction.
Joe Dunne has volunteered his time and efforts for the community for almost ten years by serving on the Pierce Elementary LSC, the Board of Friends of Pierce, and the Edgewater Council.
*Interview has been edited for length and clarity*
RogersEdge Reporter: How do you plan on building safety on CTA trains?
Joe Dunne: Since there’s no authority present on the train other than the engineer who’s driving, we need conductors who go from car to car, probably an intermittent police presence, whether it’s uniformed officers or undercover officers who are on the platforms and around the trains. Someone with authority who can say, “Hey, you can’t do what you’re doing.” So we definitely need better security at the station, and having conductors would be a huge benefits for cleanliness, and safety.
RER: How did real estate benefit you as an Alderman?
Dunne: I worked at the Department of Planning, it was during the period of time where the city took over the Chicago Housing Authority. Ultimately, I went to the Illinois Medical District Commission, which worked with economic development and urban planning. That was the initial entry as a communications person which then grew into real estate. I then had an opportunity to get into affordable housing with Peter Halston. I went back to graduate school at Northwestern and got my MBA in real estate and finance. So I had developed a skill set that works for it from all this experience. But I think it was just the impact of working on community redevelopment projects, and my role in it has benefited me.
RER: What is your motivating factor for running for Alderman?
Dunne: The skills I have developed, from affordable housing in real estate, dealing with all the government agencies, elected officials, a lot of community meetings, and getting input from all stakeholders, I think there’s a lot of synergy with what an alderman does. But really this is the community I grew up in, it’s where I’m raising my kids, I want the neighborhood to stay safe for my neighbors; I want to be a part of the solution, and that’s why I’m running for alderman.
RER: In a DGN article it stated that you caught negative media attention, since some parents considered you taking advantage of the Lunar New Year parade as a way to advertise you campaign. How would you respond to that?
Dunne: I’ve reached out to the principal and I’ve apologized. I think what happened is sort of the intersection of my political campaign and my community work. I should have been better about it and said, “Hey, please get off the street with designs and get them on the sidewalks,” which was the intent. But, you know, people were enthusiastic. The parade happened. I’ve responded directly to everyone who’s reached out, and to the business community. I’ve tried to convey to everyone it wasn’t an intent to take advantage of anything and it was unintentional. And it just comes from the enthusiasm people have for my campaign and will be better in the future. We’ve learned from it.
RER: How do you hope the 48th Ward looks four years from now?
Dunne: The first day is going to be a whirlwind. Moving past the first day some positive steps to start working with the other elected officials, to discuss the real estate tax levy increases based on the consumer price index, and I think that needs to be repealed.”
Early voting for the election will start on February 13 and last through February 28. A second round of voting will be held on April 4, 2023. Learn more about the locations and times here.
More information on Joe Dunne his policies and background can be found on his website, here