In the closest city council contest in eons, John Arena eked out a 29-vote victory over John Garrido for the 45th ward seat -- earning him the nickname "landslide" from Finance Chair Ed Burke. Arena, a vocal member of community politics in the past isn't shy about his progressive tendencies.
A graduate of Northern Illinois, Arena previously ran a graphic design firm in his home. For years he has been a vocal member of Portage Park's neighborhood association, serving twice as the association's vice president. Arena is married with two children.
The Northwest Side ward includes the neighborhoods of Edgerbrook, Forest Glen, Gladstone Park, Jefferson Park, Mayfair and Portage Park. Mostly residential and white, the ward has been slowly attracting businesses in the last 10 years, especially near the Six Corners business district in Portage Park.
A Democrat, Arena is a member of the City Council's Proressive Caucus has strong support from unions. Still, he wants to resolve the city's fiscal crisis by making needed budget cuts and refoerming the pension system. In office, Arena has already made it clear he is going to stand up for low-income residents. He pushed the mayor to restore proposed budget cuts to public libraries and public health. In his ward, he wants to continue to improve the economic climate for small businesses.
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