NBC Chicago and Ward Room bring you profiles on the 18 wards heading into a runoff election April 7. In this profile, learn all about the 20th Ward.
20th Ward – Willie Cochran (incumbent) vs. Kevin Bailey
Issues at Stake in Runoff: Marina Alonso, representative for James Hedges Elementary School and the anti-violence group Mothers for Peace based in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, says that gang violence, housing (especially abandoned homes where drug users are moving into), and city services (e.g. street cleaning and tree cutting) are issues the community are most concerned with. Alonso feels that voter turnout will be higher in the Feb. 24 election because of how people who did not vote before have more incentive to express how they feel about either mayoral candidate.
Willie Cochran(campaign website)
Education: Northwestern University, Illinois Institute of Technology and Eastern Illinois University
Occupation: 20th Ward Alderman
Endorsements: Chicago Tribune, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, Chicago Defender
Key Issues: Community benefits (supporting local homeowners), education, safety, youth activities, employment, housing, foreclosure, healthy initiatives, mental health
Kevin Bailey(campaign website)
Education: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (B.S., civil engineering)
Occupation: Civil engineer
Endorsements: Chicago Sun-Times, Congressman Danny K. Davis, Democracy for America
Key Issues: Education, public safety, community development, health and human services
Voter Turnout on Feb. 24: 27 percent
How did they vote in the mayor’s race?
- Rahm Emanuel: 40 percent
- Jesus “Chuy” Garcia: 26 percent
- Willie Wilson: 24 percent
- Total population: 52,372
- White: 3.86 percent
- Black: 79.44 percent
- Hispanic: 14.28 percent
- Asian: 1.42 percent (Source: WBEZ)
Neighborhoods: New City (Back of the Yards and Canaryville), Washington Park and Englewood
Adjectives that Describe the Ward: Impoverished, working class and violent. Washington Park is ranked fifth in violent crimes in all 77 of Chicago’s community areas, according to the Chicago Tribune.
How Ward Typically Votes: Willie Cochran was first elected alderman of the 20th Ward in 2007 when he won 63 percent of the vote, defeating Arenda Troutman (32 percent) and Edward Chaney (5 percent). In 2011, Cochran won 54 percent of the vote, defeating Che “Rhymefest” Smith in a runoff.