Chicago’s South-side 20th ward is apparently fed up with corruption. The alderman who’s stepping down, Willie Cochran, was arrested on corruption charges and withdrew from the race. He will soon face a federal trial. Two other 20th ward aldermen, Clifford Kelley and Arenda Troutman, served prison time for corrupt dealings. according to the Chicago Tribune.
That has prompted 15 people to run in the race for 20th ward alderman, including Nicole Johnson, who graduated from National Louis University in 2013 with a master of arts in teaching (M.A.T.). Johnson also earned another master’s degree in education policy from the University of Pennsylvania, according to the Chicago Maroon.
Johnson, 29, has served as a classroom teacher and told the Chicago Sun-Times, “I was prompted to leave the classroom to have greater influence to address the issues that affected my students’ ability to learn and their families’ ability to support them. I looked to the political and advocacy space to broaden my impact. At Chicago Votes, I planned and executed the “Parade to the Polls” with Chance the Rapper.
“At Teamwork Englewood, I developed the organization’s impact narrative and communicated it to various stakeholders. I also developed the Englewood Planning Advisory Council review process, to improve communication between the Englewood alderman and the community.”
She was also elected to the Kershaw Elementary School Local School Council, and in 2017, was selected as a New Leaders Council Fellow and Obama Foundation Civic Engagement Peer Advisor.
Johnson grew up in Englewood and her platform is based around education, safety and economic empowerment, according to the Chicago Maroon.
She told the Maroon that she encountered gunfire in 2011 and that she realized “bullets don’t care if you’re poor or well off. I realized that to uplift the community, I needed to breakdown the systems that perpetuate violence and stopped growth in the ward.”
The Chicago Tribune’s editorial board said Johnson impressed them, but they ultimately endorsed another candidate.