HUMBOLDT PARK — Jessie Fuentes will be the next 26th Ward alderperson.
With 32 of 32 precincts reporting Wednesday, Fuentes had 53 percent of the vote. Challenger and popular DJ Julian “Jumpin” Perez had 32 percent and 26th Ward Democratic committeeperson Angee Gonzalez Rodriguez was at 12 percent.
Fuentes is a political newcomer and lifelong Humboldt Parker. Most recently, Fuentes was the director of policy and youth advocacy for the Humboldt Park-based Puerto Rican Cultural Center and co-chair of the Puerto Rican Agenda, another local group.
Fuentes was also the dean of students at Pedro Albizu Campos High School, 2739 W. Division St., and Roberto Clemente Community Academy, 1147 N. Western Ave., and the program director at youth center Café Teatro Batey Urbano, 2620 W. Division St., also in Humboldt Park.
At 32, Fuentes will be the ward’s youngest alderperson in years. She will also be the ward’s first queer Latina leader.
The 26th Ward includes Humboldt Park and parts of Logan Square, Hermosa, West Humboldt Park and West Town.
On the campaign trail, Fuentes was the most visible of the candidates. She was the sole candidate to attend a forum in Hermosa earlier this month, where she touted her years of experience working with neighborhood youth and for local organizations and struggles growing up.
Tuesday’s results mean Fuentes will replace veteran Ald. Roberto Maldonado, who dropped out of the race in January after 13 years of serving the Humboldt Park area.
In announcing his retirement from public office, Maldonado touted his accomplishments as alderman, saying he prioritized affordable housing and anti-gentrification measures to prevent displacement of longtime Latino residents. Allies agreed Maldonado’s efforts to curb gentrification defined his time in office.
But Maldonado also faced criticism from neighbors and community leaders for personally profiting off The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail and putting his trail-adjacent Humboldt Park home on the market for $2.4 million. Some have said he’s neglected Paseo Boricua, a Division Street stretch that struggles with vacancies.
Maldonado endorsed Fuentes to be his successor.
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