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Northwest Side Ald. Ariel Reboyras joins exodus from Chicago City Council

Northwest Side Ald. Ariel Reboyras is stepping down by the end of his term next year, he announced Tuesday, marking the 15th retirement or pending departure of a Chicago City Council member prior to the 2023 election.

The alderman of the 30th Ward has served in his role for just two decades, a lifetime career which has included chairing the general public Safety Committee under former Mayor Rahm Emanuel throughout a turbulent time for policing in Chicago. Reboyras was viewed as the facial skin of Emanuels reform efforts following a Chicago police murder of Laquan McDonald, a Black 17-year-old, and was bounced from the leadership role after Mayor Lori Lightfoot was elected.

In a news release rolling out his plans to retire in 2023, Reboyras said his reason behind leaving was simple: Family comes first.

Serving the residents of the 30th Ward since 2003 has been a fantastic honor. I’ve seen this neighborhood change and grow. After 20 years, the time has come for me personally to regain my position as your neighbor and community activist, Reboyras said.

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Reboyras began as a teacher in Chicago Public Schools before working another city role as a truck driver. Then moved up through Fleet Management and the Water Department until being promoted to deputy commissioner of the Department of General Services.

Beyond his focus on the safety committee, Reboyras chaired the Immigrant and Refugee Rights Committee and served as Democratic committeeman for the 30th Ward since 2006.

In 2019, Reboyras was forced right into a runoff against challenger Jessica Gutierrez, daughter of former U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, though he still eked out a victory.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Jessica Gutierrez said she plans to perform again in 2023 and bring energy to the 30th Ward.

Thats just what I anticipate doing, is invigorating our business districts (and) re-imagining the authorities, right? Gutierrez said. Public safety is not any. 1. People dont feel safe in Chicago.

Gutierrez was just barely mapped from the new 30th Ward in the decennial redistricting process following 2020 census an outcome she blames on Reboyras.

Incumbent 30th Ward Alderman Ariel Reboyras celebrates with supporters at an election night party on April 2, 2019, at Crawford’s Food & Spirits. (Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune)

Reboyras largely supported the Latino Caucus map that could have kept her in the ward, but he ultimately voted for the Black Caucus map in the ultimate compromise deal.

Still, Gutierrez said she’ll seek the town Council position and would transfer to the ward if she wins.

Besides Reboyras, a slew of other aldermen are leaving or have gone the town Council for a number of reasons. Several are retiring; three are running for mayor; one was ousted due to a criminal conviction.

The growing exodus of these stepping down by the end of these terms recently included Ald. Howard Brookins, 21st, and Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza, 10th. Others include Wrigleyville Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th; Uptown Ald. James Cappleman, 46th; Andersonville Ald. Harry Osterman, 48th; South Shore and Hyde Park Ald. Leslie Hairston, 5th; and indicted West Pullman Ald. Carrie Austin, 34th.

Lincoln Park Ald. Michele Smith, 43rd, has recently stepped down following her recent announcement.

Three other members of the council Raymond Lopez, 15th, Sophia King, 4th, and Roderick Sawyer, 6th are running for mayor next year against Lightfoot, so that they cannot seek reelection as City Council members. Ald. George Cardenas, 12th, will exit the council prior to the end of his term should he be elected in November to serve on the Cook County Board of Review.

Others such as for example former Ald. Michael Scott, 24th, who left the council for employment in the private sector, and former Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson, convicted of tax evasion and lying to banking regulators have stepped down and had their positions filled by mayoral appointment. Lightfoot replaced Daley Thompson with United Airlines director Nicole Lee, and replaced Scott along with his sister, Monique Scott, a Chicago Park District supervisor.

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