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Bill Conway, Former Cook County State’s Attorney Candidate, Launches Bid For Alderman Of A New Downtown Ward

The new 34th Ward will includes parts of Downtown and the West Loop. The territory was shifted under the new ward map, and current Ald. Carrie Austin plans to retire, so there is no incumbent for the City Council seat in 2023.

Bill Conway is poised to be Downtown's first 34th Ward alderman.
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WEST LOOP — Bill Conway, a Navy veteran and former prosecutor, is vying to be alderman of Chicago’s newly formed 34th Ward.

The Downtown ward will encompass parts of the Loop, West Loop, Greektown and Fulton River District, with its first alderperson elected in February during the municipal elections.

“I’m excited to announce my campaign to represent my neighbors on the City Council and make the 34th Ward a vibrant, livable community,” Conway said in a news release Tuesday.

The move comes after Conway made an unsuccessful bid to unseat Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in the 2020 Democratic primary. That campaign was bankrolled, in part, with $10.5 million in contributions from his father William Conway, a billionaire co-founder of The Carlyle Group.

Conway also flirted with the idea of running for mayor, telling the Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman he was being urged by some business and trade groups to do so.

Born and raised in Chicago, Conway served as a Cook County assistant state’s attorney and recently returned from a deployment in Germany. He teaches finance at DePaul University and runs his own renewable energy company.

Conway said his top priorities include public safety, “thoughtful development, traffic and public transportation” and a new high school for the ward.

“As our neighborhood grows, it’s important that we can enjoy our ward and raise our children in a safe place, free from fear and gun violence,” Conway said in the news release.

Local leaders long have pushed for a Near West Side high school, and many residents supported a proposal to convert a former police academy in West Loop to an open enrollment high school. CPS budgeted $70 million for that project. Joyce Kenner, a former Whitney Young High School principal, nixed the idea, fearing a school wedged between Young and a nearby elementary school would cause traffic congestion. 

The newly formed 34th Ward was carved out of portions of surrounding wards to accommodate the population boom in the Downtown and West Loop neighborhoods in the last decade.

RELATED: See the new ward map here.

Because of this reconfiguration, Conway isn’t facing an incumbent in the race. Ald. Carrie Austin (34th), who lives in the current ward boundaries on the South Side, is planning to retire when her term ends next year.

Conway is the only candidate to announce a candidacy for the new ward.

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