James Cappleman, a former Franciscan friar and one of two openly gay council members, wants to appear open, transparent and accessible to his community.
The 46th Ward saw an open contest for the first time in years last March after longtime alderman Helen Shiller retired. Eleven candidates duked it out for the seat, which Jim Cappleman eventually won in a runoff. Now he's looking to jumpstart an Uptown ward which has seen an uptick in violence and vacant storefronts in recent years.
Cappleman is a former Franciscan friar and one of two openly gay aldermen on the council. He spent two terms as president of the Uptown Chicago Commission, helping to form block clubs, organizing service projects and addressing public safety issues.
The 46th runs along the lake from Foster to Addison, encompassing Uptown and Buena Park. Ethnically diverse, the neighborhood is home to some of the city's best Southeast Asian restaurants. The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, a century-old jazz club, is a Chicago jewel, but new businesses are hard to come by in a tough economy.
Cappleman's ward "Master Plan" calls for two acres of land for every 1,000 people. In addition to providing affordable housing, the ward's top two concerns are public safety and economic development, especially considering that the wards to the north and south have somewhat thrived. Additionally, transparency was one of Cappleman's top campaign pledges.