Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza won’t run for third term, as growing wave of incumbents plan to leave

CHICAGO (CBS) — The first member of the Chicago Teachers Union ever elected to the City Council, Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) announced Monday she won’t be running for a third term in office.

“It has been my greatest honor to serve my constituents, friends and neighbors on the southeast side. I am proud and humbled by the responsibility and the trust that has been placed upon me to create positive and long lasting social change within our communities,” Garza wrote in a Facebook post.

As the first ever Chicago Teachers Union member and woman to be elected to the 10th Ward, it has been my greatest honor…

Posted by Alderwoman Susan Sadlowski Garza, 10th Ward on Monday, September 5, 2022

Garza, whose ward includes the Hegewisch, South Deering, and East Side neighborhoods, has represented the 10th Ward since 2015, when she defeated four-term incumbent John Pope.

Among her accomplishments while in office, Garza touted millions of dollars in new sidewalks to help bring together previously disconnected communities in the 10th Ward; improvements to Big Marsh Park, including an off-road bike park; and passage of the Fair Workweek Ordinance, which requires many large businesses in Chicago to provide their workers with two weeks’ notice of their schedules, in an effort to guarantee employees a predictable schedule.

“I am proud of all the work we have done and all the projects we have accomplished during the 8 years I’ve been Alderwoman. During the next 9 months I will continue to work diligently on projects and issues that are put before me. There is more work to be done and more projects that are currently underway, and I know that when my term ends next May the 10th Ward will continue to advance,” she wrote. “The 10th Ward will always hold a special place in my heart. Thank you for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime.”

In a statement on Twitter, Mayor Lori Lightfoot praised Garza as “a relentless champion for working families in her own Southeast Side community and our city as a whole.

“As Workforce Committee Chair, she was a steadfast partner as we passed the $15 minimum wage increase, fair workweek ordinance, and new laws protecting workers across industries from hotels to airports. Together, we’ve made Chicago a leader for policies that support and protect working men and women,” Lightfoot wrote. “Sue’s advocacy in City Council will be missed but I am confident we will continue to hear from her and see her on the front lines fighting for social justice for years to come.”

Garza joins at least a dozen colleagues on City Council who have either stepped down mid-term since being elected in 2019, or announced they won’t run again in 2023.

Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), Ald. Harry Osterman (48th), Ald. James Cappleman (46th), and indicted Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) also plan to retire at the end of their terms next year.

Ald. Michele Smith resigned last month, and Lightfoot is still weighing candidates to replace her. Former Ald. Michael Scott (24th) stepped down in June, and already has been replaced with his sister, Monique. Former Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) stepped down in February after he was convicted of federal tax charges, and has been replaced by Nicole Lee. 

Ald. George Cardenas (12th) likely will exit before the end of the year if, as expected, he is elected to serve on the Cook County Board of Review. 

Three other alderpersons are giving up their City Council seats to launch bids to challenge Lightfoot next year, including Ald. Sophia King (4th), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), and Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th).

Four other current city council members ran for other elected offices in 2022, but were defeated in the June primary elections, meaning they will stay in their seats on the City Council for now: Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) and Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) both ran for seats as a Cook County judge, and Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) and Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) both ran for Congress.

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