An Indian-American candidate is making a bid for the Alderman seat from the 50th Ward in Chicagoland, where a well-known incumbent, Debra Silverstein is running for re-election.
The Windy City’s municipal elections are scheduled for Feb. 26, and Zehra Quadri who came to the United States from India in 1987, hopes to make a go of it. If she wins, she will become the second Indian-American elected city council member after Ameya Pawar who represents the 47th Ward and who is running for City Treasurer.
“I have brought more than a million to the community’s development, and I want to bring more,” Quadri told Desi Talk. Her campaign has some 50 “dedicated volunteers,” she said. “And I’m running a very positive campaign.”
When asked how she thought she could beat Silverstein, Quadri said she comes from a not-for-profit background, “And I can see people are suffering. She (Silverstein) was just a rubberstamp for the mayor (Rahm Emanuel). I am working for the people. I feel their pain, and we need more options for them. There are no city resources to meet their needs.”
She accused Silverstein of focusing only on Devon Ave., the area where there is a concentration of Indian businesses. “We don’t see positivity from her except for Devon Ave. And not for the vacant store-front. She sees everybody as happy, but I see them losing jobs, going to food pantries. I see people looking for growth redistribution. I want to serve humanity. I want to be Alderman for All.”
On Facebook Quadri says she is running for alderman on her record of public service to the members of this community. “Join with me to move the 50th Ward forward. PUNCH 62,” Quadri says on Facebook.
On her website zehraquadri.com, the candidate says she wants to expand educational, safety and economic opportunity and create jobs for her constituents. “I humbly ask that you work with me to create the ward of our dreams,” she adds.
Quadri says she came to the United States with the hope for a new life for herself and her family.
“Responding to the lack of services for families and single mothers in her community, Zehra created ZAM’s Hope Community Resource Center in 2000 to provide programs such as after school activities for children, emergency food distribution, nutrition education, senior citizen services, job referrals and employment skill development and domestic abuse response,” the website says.
“We have served more than 5,000 people to date. I want to do more and that’s why I am running,” she told Desi Talk.
If elected Quadri says she hopes to develop alliances in City Council to secure more funding for schools without raising property taxes, work closely with the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce and residents and businesses to create a “comprehensive plan to reimaging, redevelop, and revive,” business.
Plus, she is equipped to help improve public safety she notes, pointing to 15 years of experience working in the 24th District Police CAPS, and being a member of the 24th District CAPS Advisory Board since 2002.
Apart from Quadri and Silverstein, the 3rd candidate in the running is Andrew Rowlas.