LITTLE VILLAGE — Longtime Ald. Ricardo Muñoz will step down next year after 25 years in office.
The 22nd Ward alderman, who represents parts of Little Village, Brighton Park, Archer Heights and Lawndale, announced Monday he would not seek re-election.
“As I look back over what we have achieved on behalf of the communities of the 22nd Ward over the course of the last 25 years, I am deeply humbled,” Muñoz said in a statement.
“I have always sought to be an independent voice who puts the needs of working people above all else, and I know the 22nd Ward will continue that legacy.”
During his tenure, Muñoz said he was proud to have “ushered an era of progress in the 22nd Ward,” including the construction of five grammar schools, a new high school and two libraries.
Muñoz said he was looking forward to life as a private citizen and spending time with his family.
In 1993, then-Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Muñoz to replace Jesus “Chuy” Garcia after Garcia was elected to the State Senate.
Muñoz, who has been a leader in the City Council’s Progressive Reform Caucus, has been a part of the fight for a $15 minimum wage, has advocated for fair taxation and fought for more police accountability.
He will step down instead of resigning during his term so a successor could be appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel because it is the “right thing to do,” the longtime alderman said.
“I believe it should be an open field,” he said. “God bless whoever wants to be alderman.”
During an interview with journalist Carol Marin that aired Monday evening on NBC Chicago, the 53-year-old alderman suggested he would be open for a run at mayor in 2023.
In the segment, Muñoz said no family members would be succeeding him in office.
The Tribune reported Muñoz would be supporting Democratic Committeeman Michael Rodriguez to serve as his replacement.
Rodriguez is the executive officer of the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office and previously worked as the executive director of Enlace, a nonprofit organization focused on education, health, immigration and violence prevention in Little Village.
“He is a lifelong resident who has worked very well with residents all over the ward. He has a grasp of the needs and issues of the ward,” Muñoz told Block Club Chicago Tuesday .
The 22nd Ward Independent Political Organization is expected to select a candidate they will endorse at a meeting Wednesday, according to Muñoz.