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 31st Ward.
31st Ward – Ray Suarez (incumbent) vs. Milagros “Milly” Santiago
Issues at Stake in Runoff: Jorge Felix, a Hermosa Community Network member, says the top community issues include city remapping (all areas of Hermosa being served equally), city services (sanitation, street potholes, addressing increase of violence and theft, police response and engagement, residential and business parking), local business development, gentrification and housing stability, property taxes, gang intervention, awareness of social services, the closure and safety of local community schools, and unequal distribution of city funds and resources. In terms of voter turnout, Felix says, “In my impression, there is lots of activism and enthusiasm in this community for change and I think people will get out to vote.”
Ray Suarez(campaign website)
Education: Not answered, U.S. Marine Corps - Vietnam War veteran
Occupation: 31st Ward Alderman
Endorsements: Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7
Key Issues: City services, education and public safety (Source)
Milagros “Milly” Santiago (campaign website)
Education: Northeastern Illinois University (B.A., communications)
Occupation: Communications manager for state agencies under the Central Management Services
Endorsements: Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Illinois Herald, 1st Ward Ald. Proco Joe Moreno, 8th District Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo, Jr.
Key Issues: Aldermanic accountability, public safety, neighborhood schools, senior citizen services, local businesses, preventing and reducing foreclosures, veteran resources
Voter Turnout on Feb. 24: 27 percent
How did they vote in the mayor’s race?
- Jesus “Chuy” Garcia: 51 percent
- Rahm Emanuel: 40 percent
- Total population: 53,724
- White: 18.96 percent
- Black: .49 percent
- Hispanic: 75.88 percent
- Asian: 2.06 percent (Source: WBEZ)
Neighborhoods: Hermosa, Belmont-Cragin and Logan Square
Adjectives that Describe the Ward: Residential, relatively violent, family-oriented and populous
How Ward Typically Votes: Ray Suarez, who is also the vice-mayor of Chicago, has been alderman of the 31st Ward since 1991. In 2007, Suarez won 86 percent of the vote, defeating Ray Hernandez. In 2011, he ran unopposed.