Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) announced Tuesday morning he's running for Congress. Credit: Madison Savedra/Block Club Chicago

BERWYN — Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) is running for Congress next year.

Lopez announced his candidacy for the Illinois 4th Congressional District Tuesday morning at Jardin Restaurant, 6431 W. Cermak Road, in suburban Berwyn. He’ll take on Rep. Jesús ‘Chuy’ García, who has held the seat since 2017.

“I am ready to bring common sense solutions back to Washington,” Lopez said, surrounded by a group of supporters. “We need representatives of Congress willing to confront challenges and more directly and decisively. Fourth district voters want someone willing to listen to all sides and seek common ground.”

Raising the minimum wage, fixing the country’s immigration system and bringing fiscal responsibility are just a few of those common sense policies Lopez said he would work on if elected. He’s in the center of the political spectrum — “where 95 percent of this district is,” he said.

The 4th Congressional District covers most of the city’s Southwest Side and parts of Cook County’s western suburbs — stretching from Cicero to Hinsdale to Franklin Park.

Lopez, a two-term alderman who grew up near Midway Airport, was first elected to city office in 2015. He represents a Southwest Side ward that includes Back of the Yards, Gage Park, Brighton Park and West Englewood. Before being elected, he was a skycap for Southwest Airlines.

This isn’t his first time running for the Illinois 4th Congressional District. When former Rep. Luis Gutierrez announced his retirement in 2017, Lopez was one of 11 candidates who originally joined the race. He eventually dropped out.

García, a Little Village native, former alderman and Cook County commissioner who has run for mayor twice, came out as the winner in the race and has held the seat since. In 2015, he made the runoff to challenge then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel and finished fourth in the March 2023 election.

Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García speaks at his Chicago Mayoral election night watch party at Apollo’s 2000 in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood on February 28, 2023. Credit: Alex Wroblewski/Block Club Chicago

Lopez also ran for mayor last year, but ultimately dropped out in November and instead ran for a third term as alderman. Lopez handedly won reelection to his aldermanic seat earlier this year.

One of City Council’s most conservative members, Lopez hasn’t shied away from the cameras and often appears on Fox News.

Lopez is a vocal critic of Mayor Brandon Johnson and has particularly slammed the city’s handling of the migrant crisis. He’s opposed funding moves, arguing he wants to better understand how the city is spending money.

He also frequently fought to derail former Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s agenda, from opposing the city’s employee vaccine mandate to harshly criticizing the mayor’s approach on dealing with looting and unrest in summer 2020.

Lopez frequently takes to social media to share his thoughts in crime, including the times his office and home were vandalized as recently as last year. Lopez was also dubbed an “anti-dibs” alderman in past winters.

In a statement, García’s campaign manager Manny Díaz said Lopez’s run for Congress is “nothing more than an attention-grabbing stunt.”

“The choice is clear: a proven record of integrity, dedication, and results versus a perennial candidate riding on the coattails of Ed Burke, one of the most disgraced politicians in Illinois history,” Díaz said.

During his campaign announcement Tuesday, Lopez said this election will be different from his previous attempts to seek higher office.

“Difference race, different timing, different outcomes,” he said. “I think that as we look at what we’re seeing, where we’re at now, we are better positioned to win.”

Lopez said he won’t step down as a City Council member while he runs for Congress.

“I know how to walk and chew gum,” the alderman said. “My residents know I’m never more than a phone call away if they need me.”

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