Get to Know Your Ward: 29th Ward

NBC Chicago and Ward Room bring you profiles on all 50 wards this election season. As candidates face off in the Feb. 24 election, they are also facing a new ward map, which takes effect when the winners assume office.

In this profile, learn all about the 29th ward, which covers parts of Austin, Montclare and Belmont Cragin and is bordered by Oak Park and Elmwood Park to the west.


  • Total Population: 55,267
  • White: 15.61 percent
  • Black: 69.17 percent
  • Hispanic: 13.14 percent
  • Asian: 1.31 percent (Source: WBEZ)

Current Alderman: Deborah Graham

Ward Committeemen: Deborah Graham (democratic committeeman) and Louis Tenuta (republican committeeman)

Who Else is Running: Larry Andolino, Bob Galhotra, Lisa Jackson (withdrawn), Oddis Johnson, Maurice Robinson (withdrawn), Stephen Robinson, Brenda Smith (withdrawn), Zerlina Smith, Chris Taliaferro, Lacoulton Walls and Deborah Williams (withdrawn)

Adjectives that Describe the Ward: Crime-ridden, struggling, tough and residential

Economic Engine: There are some retail stores in the 29th ward, but many of the local stores left in the 1960s during the race riots and "white flight." Today, manufacturing is a contributor to the local economy, with Technox Machine and Manufacturing and a Mars Inc. chocolate facility in Montclare.

Where People Eat: Restaurants include Taco Burrito King, Luke's on Harlem, El Giardino del Dolce, Caffe Italia, Kolatek's Bakery, Dog Day Afternoon, Maria's Mexican, Big Dolphin, Amarind's Thai, Whale Fish and Chicken, Alice's, Peeples Taco Place, Terry's Place and Uncle Remus Saucy Fried Chicken.

Where People Drink: Bars include Valentino Club Cafe, Abram Gale, High Life on Harlem and O'Malley's Pub.

Where People Pray: Churches and places of worship include United Mission Christ Lutheran, Greater St. John Bible Church, St. Angelas Roman Catholic Church, Great True Vine Baptist Church, New Deliverance Church of God, Rising Sun Baptist Church, St. Martin's Episcopal Church, Third Unitarian Church, Friendship Baptist Church, Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, House of Fire Church and New Home Baptist Church.

How the Ward Typically Votes: Ike Carothers was alderman of the 29th ward from 1999 to 2010 when he was indicted on federal charges of bribery. He was succeeded by Deborah Graham. In 2007, Carothers ran unopposed. Graham won 52 percent fo the vote in 2011, defeating Thomas Simmons (12 percent) and six other challengers.

Landmark: Columbus Park

Ward Expert: Elce Redmond, community organizer in Austin

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