Gilbert Villegas, Candidate for 36th Ward Alderman

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Candidate Full Name: Gilbert Villegas

Office: 36th Ward Alderman

Email Address:

Web Site:

Phone: 773-844-9481

Survey Questions (Character limit of 2,000 per response)

1. What is the most important issue that you will address in your ward?

The largest issue facing the 36th Ward is economic development. We have a ward full of smart and hard working people. Yet they have to leave the 36th Ward to do just about everything. I will address this problem in a number of ways. First, my office will include resume and career services that will help individuals that need jobs get them. I am already working with employers both large and small to make sure they see the great opportunities that already exist in the 36th Ward. On top of this, I look forward to working with Unions to bring additional well paying jobs to the Ward. The lack of economic development in the 36th Ward is a problem we will overcome together and with strong leadership I believe the 36th Ward will quickly become the gem of the Northwest side.

2. What are your plans for helping fight crime in your ward?

Crime is a significant issue in the 36th Ward and one that I have talked to hundreds of people about. The most important step toward fighting crime is to work closely with the Officers at the 25th Police District. These are hard working men and women that do everything they can to make the 36th Ward great. They need additional support however. They need stable leadership and additional resources. As Alderman I will work closely to ensure they retain Commander Navarro for years to come. I will also fight in the City Council to make sure that Commander Navarro receives the officers and resources he needs. Finally, we need to engage the community beyond CAPS, my campaign has already handed out 1,500 "We Call Police" signs, which is a small step toward involving the community in public safety.

3. What, if any, city assets would you consider privatizing to raise money?

I cannot imagine a situation in which I would consider privatizing more city assets. At the very least I support the Privatization and Accountability Ordinance put forth by Alderman Sawyer. Both the City Council, and the general public should have strict oversight over any privatization efforts and with Chicago's recent history we should always default to keeping public assets public.

4. Do you support or oppose the vote to increase the minimum wage in several steps to $13 an hour by 2019?

The vote was a step in the right direction but did not go nearly far enough. 4 years from now $13 will simply not be enough to survive. We need to continue to push for a true living wage and we need to do so immediately. As a small business owner, this may seem like an unusual stance, but I was also a Teamster for nearly 10 years. I can tell you for a fact that the best work is done by workers who are paid fairly. These workers that earn a fair paycheck will be able to afford additional goods and services that will help the 36th Ward flourish.

5. Are you in favor of Chicago's Red Light Camera program?

The Red Light Camera program is difficult because it has good intentions but has been poorly executed. A large majority of my neighbors see it as nothing more than a cash grab. I do believe the program was set up for public safety, but there is very little evidence to show that it has decreased car accidents or injuries. My opinion is that each camera should be evaluated individually. Cameras should be present in front of schools and dangerous intersections, but removed from speed traps. We can build the public's trust by decreasing automotive fatalities and injuries. We can lose it just as quickly by giving people excessive fines when they were driving safely and responsibly.

Gilbert Villegas

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