BRIGHTON PARK — Community organizer Julia Ramirez defeated incumbent Ald. Anabel Abarca in the race for 12th Ward alderperson.
With all precincts reporting Tuesday night, Ramirez challenger held 56.5 percent to the Abarca’s 43.5 percent.
This election was Ramirez’s first time running for public office. She’s been a Chicago Public Schools social worker, with a background in community activism.
Abarca has been on City Council since December when she appointed to the 12th Ward seat by Mayor Lori Lightfoot late last year after former Ald. George Cardenas stepped down to become a commissioner on the Cook County Board of Review. Prior to being appointed, Abarca was an attorney and former chief of staff to Cardenas and had his support in the 12th Ward race.
The Latino-majority ward includes most of McKinley Park and Brighton Park.
Ramirez was Abarca’s only challenger. A third candidate was removed from the ballot.
Ramirez’s campaign focused on holistic public safety strategies and implementing a “community-driven process” to vet industry and businesses.
In an interview with Block Club, Ramirez said she woke up every morning of the campaign ready to work hard to win this election and was thrilled by the results.
“We were up against so much,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez said her election night watch party was a packed house of supporters celebrating the win.
“I think this is a huge transition to the Southwest Side,” she said. “We’ve been able to accomplish something that people have been fighting for such a long time.”
Ramirez said one of her biggest priorities before assuming the City Council seat will be establish a “community needs assessment” to better understand what folks want to see from her.
“We believe that we need to do something different,” Ramirez said.
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