People ask me what it is like to be an alderman. I’m so close to it that I often forget that most of the people in our ward go about their business and call me when they need me. So, I thought I would try to give you a better idea what it’s all about. When I was elected, I learned one thing very quickly—the job is what you make it. The goals that I set for the ward are based on your issues and concerns. I listen to you at neighborhood meetings, in our phone conversations and when I go “door to door”.
Here is my typical weekday:
7:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. See my kids off to school. Arrive at City Hall between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. Return and make phone calls, attend meetings, work on legislation… I try to leave City Hall around 3 p.m. to be home for the kids when they get back from school.
What goes on between 7 and 3? Many of my calls are from constituents, business owners and developers. I work with each person and other city departments to make sure we are doing everything possible to meet his or her needs. It’s often challenging, the city always has a very tight budget and we could easily spend five times as much as the funds that are allocated to our ward. I always strive to get the most out of the funding we get.
I receive lots of calls you might not expect: People considering moving into the ward or locating a business here, people wanting to renovate homes, people with crime issues… I spend much of my time on the phone and I think that’s what it takes to be a good alderman. Listening to peoples’ needs and doing everything I can to meet those needs.
3 p.m. to 7 p.m. It’s family time. Making dinner, checking those homework assignments…
Evenings and Weekends I spend as much time as possible at neighborhood meetings of all sorts—a small gathering, a crime meeting, a formal neighborhood meeting, or talking one-on-one with people. This results in me putting in many hours but, I feel that’s what it takes to get the job done right.
There are quite a few responsibilities that you might not be aware of. I represent our ward at events to support the democratic party at all levels, I represent us at city-wide events and initiatives, I represent us at events in other wards. The list is pretty endless, and I don’t want to bore you with all the details. I wanted you to know that much of my time is spent making sure we are heard and that people know what a great place the 15th ward is to live, work and own a business.
That’s my life as your alderman. It is a full one, at that. It can be tiring, frustrating and at the same time very rewarding. All I can say is—thank you for allowing me to be your alderman. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.