Chicago’s Indian-American Alderman launches candidacy for city treasurer

Ameya Pawar (Courtesy: Facebook)

An Indian-American politician who has been on the City Council in Chicago since 2011, and even launched a failed bid for Governor of Illinois, announced he will run for Treasurer of the Windy City.

Ameya Pawar, announced his candidacy for the office of Chicago city treasurer today (Oct. 29), pledging to be a champion for financial justice and racial equity.

Pawar, who has been alderman of the 47th Ward for 7 years, said he was inspired to run for treasurer by his own family’s story.

“My dad emigrated to the United States more than 40 years ago. His career tracked a turbulent time in American manufacturing where offshoring, automation and the squeezing of workers meant he was trapped in an endless cycle of starting a new job and layoffs,” Pawar is quoted saying in a press release. “In just 40 years, stagnant wages, shrinking benefits, union busting, and constant uncertainty have chipped away at the American Dream of prosperity and stability driven by hard work. Experiencing firsthand how income inequality impacted my family, my community, and the city inspired me to go into public service,” Pawar added in his statement at a press conference held at the James R. Thompson Center Plaza.

Pawar pledged to use the role of treasurer to ensure the City’s public dollars are used to boost Chicago communities and families.

“I am running to be the next city treasurer to enact a bold progressive agenda to harness the power of 2.7 million Chicagoans and invest in our neighborhoods and each other,” said Pawar.

Pawar, who launched his candidacy after current Treasurer Kurt Summers announced he would not seek re-election, was endorsed by fellow aldermen Ald. Pat Dowell (3), Ald. David Moore (17) and Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22), the press release said, all of whom made statements expressing their confidence in Pawar’s progressive agenda and commitment.

Pawar is also backed by Ram Villivalam, Democratic nominee for Illinois State Senator from the 8th District, who, if elected will be the first Indian-American State Senator in Illinois. Others backing Pawar include Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Josina Morita, who was the first Asian-American to be elected countywide in Cook County; and State Rep. Theresa Mah (2nd District), the first Asian-American member of the Illinois General Assembly. He also has support from the International Union Of Operating Engineers Local 150, the press release said.

Pawar is the first Indian-American and Asian-American elected to the Chicago City Council. “As alderman, Pawar has focused his legislative efforts around social justice, worker rights, and economic justice, and has led on 12 major pieces of legislation, including tax-increment financing reform as well as legislation guaranteeing earned sick time, combating wage theft, and protecting and preserving single-room occupancy housing units for Chicago’s most vulnerable,” his profile provided by the campaign, says.

Pawar has a bachelor’s degree in religion and philosophy from Missouri Valley College, a master’s degree in public administration from the Illinois Institute of Technology and is a two-time graduate from the University of Chicago with master’s degrees in threat and response management and social service administration.

He is an alumni of the U.S. State Department Critical Language Program; a 2012 University of Illinois Edgar Fellow; and was named one of Crain’s Chicago Business Chicago 40 under 40 in 2011. Most recently, he was named a 2018 McCormick Foundation Executive Fellow. He is currently a Fall 2018 Pritzker Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics.

Pawar lives in Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood with his wife, Charna, and their daughter Sigalit.



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