UPTOWN — Lakeview resident Kim Walz is running to become the 46th Ward’s next alderperson after years as a congressional aide and political adviser.
Walz last week announced her campaign for the 46th Ward’s top political position, which is being vacated by a retiring Ald. James Cappleman. Her campaign will host its launch party Monday.
Reps. Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky — who have endorsed Walz — will attend Walz’s campaign launch Monday, according to the campaign.
Walz served as chief of staff for Quigley when the North Side Democrat served on the Cook County Board. She then worked as his district director and deputy chief of staff when Quigley was elected to Congress in 2009.
Since leaving Quigley’s office, Walz has worked as a political consultant, advising Rahm Emanuel’s mayoral campaign and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. She was also director of Illinois Women for Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign.
Currently, Walz serves as regional director of state and local government relations for Walgreens, where she helped roll out the drug store chain’s COVID-19 testing locations and vaccination efforts.
With years of political and private-sector experience, Walz said she wants to take the leap to elected office as 46th Ward alderperson. The ward covers Uptown and portions of Lakeview.
“I think that experience is really important, because I know how to build coalitions,” Walz said. “I know how to enact change, so I can’t just come up with wonky policy ideas. I also know how to get things done to serve our community.”
This is not Walz’s first run for office.
Walz ran for election to the Illinois House of Representatives to represent the 12th District on the North Side in 2020. She dropped out of the race because it became a “proxy war” between Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. JB Pritzker, Walz said. Margaret Croke won the race.
Walz also sought the appointment to Quigley’s Cook County Board seat when he was elected to Congress, but the seat went to Bridget Gainer, who still serves in the role.
In the race for the 46th Ward seat, Walz wants to highlight her experience crafting policy and working with the public and private sector as a way to help move the community “forward,” she said.
An issue she is prioritizing is help for people facing homelessness and services for mental health treatment. Her passion for the topic stems from a family member who lives with schizophrenia, she said.
“I’ve spent most of my adult life — and so has my family — trying to help him, and the system is just completely broken,” Walz said. “Families aren’t supported. Those suffering aren’t supported. I know there’s more that needs to be done.”
Expanding housing and social services like mental health treatment could help tackle one of Walz’s other priorities: public safety.
Walz said there is room to support community policing efforts while seeking to fund violence prevention efforts including housing and social services.
“You go to a meeting and they put up the one slide that says, ‘Here are all the reasons that violence occurs … not enough affordable housing, not enough after-school programming,'” Walz said. “It’s the same list we’ve seen for 20 years. We actually need to start doing those things and making those investments.
“We can’t just pull money away from the police department and start investing in violence protection. They happen at the same time.”
Walz is the third candidate to announce a run for the 46th Ward seat that has been held by Cappleman since 2011.
The two others candidates who have announced also ran against Cappleman in 2019: energy efficiency professional and neighborhood organizer Marianne Lalonde and local political activist Angela Clay.
The election will be held Feb. 28.
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