Chicago, 45th Ward Alderman (2011-)
Chicago, 45th Ward Democratic Committeeman (2012-)
John Arena, has survived two tight runoff campaigns against the same challenger, police officer John Garrido, in both 2011 and 2015. In a ward where many families have lived in the same house for generations, both campaigns were intense and tremendously personal: as much about issues as personalities and personal relationships.
Previously the home of Cook County Democratic Chairman Tom Lyons, Arena took over after Lyons’ handpicked successor, Pat Levar, decided to retire in 2011, leaving no clear successor and setting up a grand battle for succession.
Since that 2011 that battle has raged between Arena and Chicago Police officer John Garrido with no satisfactory completion. Arena and Garrido have been forced to runoffs with extremely close outcomes twice and have traded lawsuits and barbs in between elections. Defeated at the polls twice, Garrido still threatens a third run. He showed up as a leader of a group opposing an affordable housing project in the ward, an issue which deeply divided the Jefferson Park community.
Arena’s politics are very different from the kind that ruled the 45th Ward for decades. Arena is an independent and a founding member of the Progressive Caucus, which is part of what draws his opposition. One campaign season anti-Arena battle cry: “Arena complains too much.”
Current Chicago City Council Committees:
- Committee on Aviation
- Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics
- Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development
- Committee on Education and Child Development
- Committee on Finance
- Committee on License and Consumer Protection
- Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation