Andrew Rowlas Challenging Silverstein for Alderman

Andrew Rowlas, a community activist and former educator, has announced his candidacy for alderman of the 50th Ward, challenging two-term incumbent Debra Silverstein.

Rowlas is campaigning on a progressive platform of economic development centered around small businesses, improved educational opportunities for neighborhood students, and civic engagement by neighborhood residents.

His goals are in sharp contrast to Silverstein’s eight years of inertia. The ward still waits for the economic development plan she promised in 2011. Her lack of transparency and refusal to engage with her constituents are near legendary, even for Chicago. She is one of the Mayor’s most dependable stooges, a reliable member of the rubber-stamp brigade in the City Council.

Rowlas has served as president of the West Ridge Community Organization, is a leading member of LEARN–the coalition of community members and organizations that led the charge for a new library– and has worked extensively to foster communication and cooperation between and with all ethnic and religious communities across the ward. He was instrumental in the formation of the Warren Park Advisory Council, which gives local residents a voice in Park activities.

It’s worth noting that, after nearly 8 years in office, Silverstein had never shown any interest in connecting the north side’s largest park with its nearby residents. Rowlas saw the need to do so and rallied other activists to make it happen. Just imagine the great things that could happen in the 50th with a proactive alderman!

Rowlas spent 38 years as a teacher, counselor, and principal. He would be a strong voice for increased quality educational opportunities both in the ward and across Chicago.

Support the Rowlas campaign by volunteering or donating via the campaign Web site,

Silverstein will not be able to run a Rose Garden campaign this year. I look forward to the coming debates. And so should you.


5 thoughts on “Andrew Rowlas Challenging Silverstein for Alderman

  1. As of today, I am an undecided voter who is looking forward to this race. There’s much to be discussed here.

    For instance, Ald. Silverstein has done an effective job of claiming credit for developments after they have been announced.

    The new Northtown library (under construction at Pratt and Western), an upcoming T.J. Maxx in the dilapidated Lincoln Village shopping center, and expanded facilities for three North Side public schools all were projects that Ald. Silverstein insisted in her newsletter that she worked for years to bring to fruition. But none were mentioned in her literature for two previous campaigns or in her plan for economic development in the 50th Ward. They became Silverstein initiatives when they were announced by others.

    To be sure, Ald. Silverstein and her staff have been responsive to pleas for constituent services when city departments flagged, such as enforcing parking regulations and trash disposal in alleys.

    But Ald. Silverstein has kept her plans and her vision for the 50th Ward closely restricted to select committees made up of nameless individuals whose identities are revealed only to each other, and certainly not to constituents.

    If Ald. Silverstein hopes to regain the trust and support of her constituents, she could begin by releasing her 50th Ward economic-development plan, now six years in the making.


    • Dan, thank you for such a thoughtful comment. You are absolutely correct about her habit of taking credit for positive developments in the ward even when she’s had nothing to do with them. Debra’s economic plan is now more than seven years in the making. She promised it when she ran against Bernie Stone back in 2011.


  2. This race will surely be interesting. Transparency and economic development look to be hot topics among others. More candidates will start to announce


    • Jason, I hope that other candidates announce so that residents have a real choice and a real voice in the ward’s future. We need candidates with a vision for the ward and a willingness to build a coalition to make that vision reality.


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