The big news out of Chicago politics today is, of course, the unexpected run-off between incumbent Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Jesus "Chuy" Garcia. Emanuel is former Chief of Staff in the Obama White House and one of the country’s best fundraisers, while Garcia is a Cook County commissioner and progressive democrat who’s lambasted the mayor for widely publicized school closures and downtown development plans. The run-off election will be held on April 7.
But there was other news out of Chicago politics that could have big implications: the election of 25-year-old Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, the city’s first openly gay alderman.
Rosa is a 26*-year-old activist who beat out incumbent Ald. Rey Colon to represent the city’s 35th ward, which includes the city’s Logan Square neighborhood, home to one of its biggest Latino populations.
Rosa, born and raised in Chicago, was a staffer for Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL). He earned an endorsement from the Chicago Tribune and is now the youngest alderman in the city. And — as is smart to do these days, though expected — has painted himself as a politician who’s against Big Money influences. "There’s money in this city," Rosa said at his campaign kick-off rally on Sept. 6. "If you look at the decisions City Hall is making, if you look at the way our aldermen vote, you would think that Chicago belongs to corporations buying our public institutions. You would think that Chicago belongs to politicians selling out our schools and developers evicting our families."
* A previous version of this post misstated Rosa’s age. He is 26, not 25.