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 21st Ward.
21st Ward – Howard Brookins, Jr. (incumbent) vs. Marvin McNeil
Issues at Stake in Runoff: Carlos Nelson, executive director of the Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation, says that quality education for residents on the South Side and across the city is the top concern in the community. Employment opportunities, affordable housing and public safety are issues at stake as well. Nelson believes that voter turnout in the community will be higher this time around largely due to the warmer weather.
Howard Brookins, Jr.(campaign website)
Education: Northern Illinois University (J.D.), Southern Illinois University-Carbondale (B.S. and A.A.S.)
Occupation: 21st Ward Alderman
Endorsements: Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, Chicago Defender
Key Issues: Crime, economic development and employment
Marvin McNeil(campaign website)
Education: Illinois State University, Dunbar Vocational High School
Occupation: Zoning code enforcer, City of Chicago Department of Zoning (retired)
Endorsements: Chicago Tribune
Key Issues: Community employment, education, litter, examining poorly managed liquor stores, public safety, resurfacing sidewalks, speed cameras, farmer markets, senior citizens, parks rehabilitation, potholes, aldermanic accountability
Voter Turnout on Feb. 24: 35 percent
How did they vote in the mayor’s race?
- Rahm Emanuel: 42 percent
- Willie Wilson: 24 percent
- Jesus “Chuy” Garcia: 22 percent
- Total population: 51,632
- White: 0.29 percent
- Black 98.01 percent
- Hispanic: 0.91 percent
- Asian: 0.04 percent (Source: WBEZ)
Neighborhoods: Auburn Gresham, Washington Heights, Gresham, Chatham and Roseland
Adjectives that Describe the Ward: Violent, community-oriented
How Ward Typically Votes: Howard Brookins, Jr., was first elected alderman of the 21st Ward in 2003. In 2007, he won 61 percent of the vote, defeating Leroy Jones in a runoff. In 2011, Brookins won 55 percent of the vote, defeating Sheldon Sherman (20 percent) and three other challengers.