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Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park

Ald. Anthony Napolitano Cruises To Reelection In 41st Ward Race

With all votes counted, Napolitano held about 74 percent of the vote to challenger Paul Struebing's nearly 26 percent.

Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) attends a City Council meeting on Oct. 26, 2022.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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NORWOOD PARK — Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) secured his third term to represent his Far Northwest Side ward.

With all precincts reporting Tuesday night, Napolitano had 73.95 percent of the vote to challenger Paul Struebing‘s 26.05 percent, securing the win.

The 41st Ward covers most of Norwood Park, Edison Park, Oriole Park and the O’Hare area, home to many firefighters and police officers. It lost Wildwood and all of Edgebrook north of West Devon Avenue in the new ward remap last year.

Napolitano, a former police officer and firefighter, was elected in 2015.

His margin of victory Tuesday was larger than in 2019, when he won 70 percent of the vote against one challenger.

Struebing, an attorney and Edison Park resident, gained support from the ward’s more progressive pockets and those who wanted a change in leadership. He campaigned on street safety, economic development, improvements to public services and increased green jobs, among other issues. He hit over 15,000 doors, he said Tuesday.

“We ran a pretty good campaign … I don’t know what we would have done differently,” Struebing said.

He said he was shocked at the results but voters made their voice heard, he said.

During the campaign, he criticized Napolitano for his City Council meeting record, his voting record and not doing enough to prioritize public safety and street safety.

Napolitano attended 77 percent of City Council and committee meetings May 2019-December 2021, according to publicly available attendance record data analyzed by WBEZ.

At a community meeting last week, the alderman defended his record and highlighted street infrastructure improvements he led in his last term.

Napolitano told Block Club it is a “blatant lie” to say he’s missed as many as 70 meetings. When meetings went remote because of the pandemic, the clerk’s office had trouble tracking virtual attendance, he said.

“I’ve never missed a council meeting in eight years,” Napolitano previously said.

The alderman has not missed full City Council meetings since he was elected, according to attendance records, but he has missed some committee meetings, he said. He is a member of nine council committees.

“I only miss committee meetings if there’s something going on in the ward, and the ward always comes first,” he said.

Napolitano previously said he’s proud of helping the 16th District get its first Strategic Decision Support Center, which combines crime analytics, real-time camera footage and technology with experts and other district resources to reduce crime and stay on top of trends.

Napolitano also touted accomplishments such as fighting for more police officers in the 16th District and supporting ordinances that would give greater resources amid staff shortages and increased suicides among police officers.

Napolitano was also the alderman who brought participatory budgeting to the ward in 2015, which funded a neighborhood sign in Norwood Park and a workout trail in Oriole Park, he told WTTW in 2019.

In his last term, he used capital funding to help with street and sidewalk improvements and school and park upgrades, including Taft High School’s new turf football field, Norwood Park’s improved field house and new tennis courts and upgrades to Oriole Park’s gym, he said.

“We’ve made great strides over the last seven and a half years, including much-needed infrastructure improvements, expansion of our overcrowded schools, and new amenities throughout our ward,” said Napolitano, a lifelong 41st Ward resident.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) attends a City Council meeting on Oct. 26, 2022.

The City Council approved an affordable housing complex near O’Hare in late 2021 over Napolitano’s fierce objections, breaking a long-standing tradition of deferring to the alderman’s opinion when it comes to developments in their ward.

The proposal for the site at 8503-8723 W. Higgins Road was introduced in 2016 but stalled after Napolitano opposed it. City Council brought it back for a vote in late 2021 with strong support from Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

At a council meeting about the project in 2021, Napolitano said the area is overburdened with residential density and said he wanted a commercial development at the site.

The seven-story, $91 million project by Glenstar Properties will create 297 apartments, with 59 being affordable.

A spokesperson with the city’s Department of Housing said the current financial market conditions have delayed the project.

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