Alderman Ameya Pawar considering run for governor in 2018

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago alderman is considering his options for a run as the Democratic candidate for governor in Illinois.

Ameya Pawar won his 47th Ward City Council seat in an upset five years ago. Pawar is now in his second term and is Chicago's first and only Asian-American City Council member. He is now considering a run for governor as a progressive Democrat.

"I understand where I fit on the totem pole, but I'm not going to sit silent while the state gets ripped apart by politics," Pawar said.
The 36-year-old son of Indian-American immigrant parents represents a predominantly white North Side ward. After barely winning election in 2011, he won more than 82 percent of the vote there four years later, the largest margin of any alderman in 2015.

"He learned very quickly to make alliances without compromising himself," said 47th Ward resident Jurek Polanski.

"I believe we should come together and focus on equity and the way to do that is with a progressive agenda," Pawar said.

Pawar holds two master's degrees in administration from the University of Chicago is known for always-busy North Side office. His 47th Ward constituents include Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who would not endorse his alderman, but praised Pawar's intellect and desire.

"I think he should stay in City Council, but if his desire is to go somewhere else in service, he's built a record that's worthy of it," Emanuel said.

The alderman--married with a 9-month-old child-- has fewer than $60,000 in his campaign fund. Mentioned as other possible candidates in the 2018 Democratic primary are wealthy businessmen Christopher Kennedy and J.B. Pritzker.

And if Pawar won his party's nomination, in the general election he likely would face billionaire Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner:

"Let the wealthy folks go to the airwaves and tear each other apart. Someone's got to be out there talking about the issues on a progressive platform and that's what I'm going to do," Pawar said.
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