Aldermanic Runoff: 16th Ward

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 16th Ward.

16th Ward – Toni Foulkes vs. Stephanie Coleman

Issues at Stake in Runoff:
Asiaha Butler, president of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood (RAGE), says, “I think the biggest issue at stake for all candidates is the current state of African American communities and the failed policies that impact these communities. Our communities are plagued with flawed TIF practices, closed schools, high foreclosure rates, high poverty & unemployment, which directly impacts the public safety in the City of Chicago. Until these issues are addressed we will remain a divided city where some see will enjoy the beauty and economic development while others on the south and west side area are living in what many describe as ‘Chi-Raq’ or an economic war. Currently, Chicagoans in distressed communities do not feel valued as taxpayers and many of us want to see change, real change, not corny ad campaigns that are two-minute soundbites. We need radical change in Chicago and any candidate running for an office should be ready to contribute to that radical change that will help Chicago move forward in the right direction. I believe the voter turnout will be higher, because more voters are now paying attention to the fate of our city and local communities. I spoke with many voters who feel like this runoff is an opportunity for them to truly exercise their right and contribute to the electoral process. I am sure April 7 is on many voters’ radar and we should see a slight increase from the Feb. 24 election.”
Toni Foulkes (campaign website)
Education: Intercontinental University (bachelors in applied arts and merchandising)
Occupation: 15th Ward Alderman
Endorsements: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Chicago Teachers Union, Action Now, AFSCME, Chicago Firefighters Union, Citizen Action Illinois, Chicago Defender, Illinois Herald, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Cook County College Teachers Union, SEIU, Take Back Chicago/Grassroots Illinois Action, UFCW Local 881
Key Issues: Increasing minimum wage to $15 per hour, supporting Chicago Public Schools, strengthening community-police relationships, funding for youth jobs and after school programs
Stephanie Coleman (campaign website)
Education: Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies (masters of science in nonprofit management), Robert Morris College (bachelors in business administration)
Occupation: Participant in Open Book Literacy Program, Albertina Walker’s “The Queen of Gospel” Scholarship Foundation, Women’s Empowerment Group
Endorsements: Chicago Tribune
Key Issues: Economic development (new and affordable businesses, job creation and training, informing and involving the community on ward projects), Tax Increment Finances (TIF) for job training
General  information:
Voter Turnout on Feb. 24: 23 percent
How did they vote in the mayor’s race?
  • Rahm Emanuel: 39 percent
  • Willie Wilson: 26 percent
  • Jesus “Chuy” Garcia: 25 percent
  • Total population: 51,954
  • White: 1.4 percent
  • Black: 68.5 percent
  • Hispanic: 29.2 percent
  • Asian: 0.18 percent (Source: WBEZ)
Neighborhoods: Englewood, Gage Park, West Englewood and Chicago Lawn
Adjectives that Describe the Ward: Struggling, violent, dangerous, closely knit, food desert
How Ward Typically Votes: JoAnn Thompson has been alderman of the 16th Ward since 2007 when she won 56 percent of the vote, defeating Shirley Coleman, the previous alderman, in a runoff. In 2011, Thompson won 56 percent of the vote again, defeating Hal Baskin in a runoff.
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