Quick glance: 43rd Ward aldermanic candidates

12 Jan

By Zoe Barker

There are nine candidates listed on the latest, official ballot for picking the alderman from the 43rd Ward, which comprises much of Lincoln Park and DePaul University.

Not everyone has a web site or information on their qualifications, but they’ve all been invited to participate in Thursday’s public forum for candidates sponsored by the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be held in the Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave.

Not all candidates have made their backgrounds readily available, but here are thumbnail sketches for six potential participants:

• Bita Buenrostro

Background: Earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from North Park University. Born in Iran, then moved to Chicago when she was 19 years old. She speaks five languages. A senior leader and general manager of Dublin’s, a restaurant in the Gold Coast neighborhood. Lives with her husband Marcus, a decorated senior Chicago police officer. Started a neighborhood watch program, volunteers by cleaning up the streets and parks on weekends and by supporting local charities.

• Charles E. Eastwood

Background: Chief of Staff from the 43rd Ward (1999-present), Assistant to Alderman Charles Bernardini (1995-1999). Bachelor of communications from the University of Illinois at Chicago. City Council member and part of the Children’s Community Relations Committee for 12 years. Participated in CAPS program for 15 years. Wife is a small business owner; they have lived in the ward together for 20 years.

• Tim Egan

Background: Vice President of Governmental Affairs at Norwegian American Hospital and Executive Director of the Norwegian American Hospital Foundation. Founded Chicago Irish Brotherhood. Board member at Boys Town of Chicago and the Gold Coast Neighbors, as well as being on the Finance Committee of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Married with two children; lives in the home his wife grew up in.

• Carmen Olmetti

Background: Field Director for Governor Pat Quinn’s campaign, Field Organizer for County Commissioner Jeff Tobolski’s campaign. Bachelor of science in accountancy, along with a certificate of international business, both from Arizona State University. Master of science in accountancy from the Liautaud Graduate School of Business at UIC. Two-time cancer survivor.

• Michele Smith

Background: Elected to serve as Committeeman from Chicago’s 43rd Ward in 2008. Worked in U.S. Attorney’s Office, then as a corporate attorney. Prosecuted over 400 narcotics, white-collar, and political corruption cases. Ran for Alderman in 2007, lost to incumbent. Has lived in Lincoln Park since 1979 and raised her daughter here. Led team responsible for changing Clean Air Act to reduce diesel emissions to near zero in 2007. Board member for Facing History and Ourselves. Former Social Action Chair of Chicago Sinai Congregation.

• Rafael A. Vargas

Background: Practices law in the areas of civil rights and equity in education, transportation and employment. Currently works as Special Counsel to the downtown firm of Futterman Howard Ashley Watkins & Weltman. Undergrad at DePaul University, then went on to earn a degree from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. Member of the Board of Advisors to the Archdiocese of Chicago, and as an auxiliary board member for the Catholic Charities Hispanic Advisory Committee and High Jump. Married to wife Melissa for eight years.


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