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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Ald. Jeanette Taylor Narrowly Avoids Runoff, Wins 2nd Term As 20th Ward Alderwoman

The firebrand Woodlawn alderwoman won reelection to the South Side ward after securing 53 percent of the vote.

Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th) speaks out about the Norfolk Southern expansion at a City Council meeting on Feb. 1, 2023.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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WOODLAWN — Ald. Jeanette Taylor was reelected as 20th Ward alderwoman Tuesday, giving the Woodlawn resident and community activist a second term in City Council.

With 21 of 23 precincts reporting Tuesday night, Taylor held 53 percent of the vote. Challengers Jennifer Maddox and Andre Smith had 26 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

The firebrand alderwoman has been a vocal advocate for anti-displacement measures in the 20th Ward and a critic of Mayor Lori Lightfoot during her time in City Hall. She could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday night.

The 20th Ward covers most of Woodlawn and parts of Hyde Park, Englewood, Washington Park, Back of the Yards and Fuller Park.

The city’s rollout of a shelter for asylum seekers and other migrants at the former Wadsworth Elementary School in Woodlawn was a key issue during the campaign.

Taylor and Maddox backed residents’ frustrations over the city’s handling of the Wadsworth situation but distanced themselves from the racial tensions and xenophobia that the shelter plans exposed.

Taylor made numerous demands of the city relating to resources for Woodlawn residents in response to the shelter’s opening, while Maddox organized a January rally in protest of the shelter plans.

Smith was arrested for trespassing on the shelter site earlier this month, just one week after he attempted to block buses from dropping migrants off. He criticized Taylor and local leaders’ handling of the shelter rollout while blasting Chicago’s status as a sanctuary city.

Taylor was elected 20th Ward alderperson in 2019, filling a seat left vacant by former Ald. Willie Cochran, who resigned that March after pleading guilty to wire fraud.

Since taking office, Taylor has supported affordable housing protections and other anti-displacement measures as the Obama Presidential Center is built in the neighboring 5th Ward. She worked with community organizers to secure the 2020 Woodlawn Housing Preservation Ordinance.

Taylor has also taken issue with the Lightfoot administration’s cooperation and transparency on issues like affordable housingits treatment of Anjanette Young and jobs for ward residents as the Obama Center is built.

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