Meet the candidates: City Council, 21st Ward

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Marvin McNeil


Marvin McNeil is the incumbent alderman of the 21st Ward. Raised in the Chicago projects, McNeil went on to graduate from Illinois State University. He worked for the city of Chicago for nearly 30 years as a zoning code enforcement inspector. McNeil says he’ll use his experience as an urban planner to enhance the neighborhood. Public safety, employment and education are top priorities. He also wants to bring farmer’s markets to the community and fix up the sidewalks, roads and parks. A married father of five children, he emphasizes the importance of family and describes himself as “unashamedly black” and “unapologetically Christian.”


Jeffrey Baker


Jeff Baker is a husband, father of three, Army National Guard veteran, community organizer and long-time resident of the 21st Ward. He’s the current president of the Committee for a Better Chicago, which connects community members to resources. Baker has also served on the local school council at Ryder Elementary School, and he’s been involved with various justice organizations, including the Chicago South Side branch of the NAACP, the National Black Agenda Consortium and the Anti-Eviction Campaign. He’ll focus on education, jobs, infrastructure and safety.

Howard B. Brookins, Jr.


Alderman Howard B. Brookins is currently representing the 21st Ward. He follows a lineage of politics in the footsteps of his father, former Senator Howard B. Brookins Sr. Brookins Jr. has worked as assistant public defender, assistant state’s attorney and special assistant attorney general. He is also a partner with Brookins and Wilson Law Firm. Brookins is a long time Chicago resident and is committed to improving crime, education and economic development in the community. He’s a graduate of Mendel Catholic High School, Southern Illinois Carbondale and Northern Illinois University.


Joseph Ziegler, Jr.


Joseph Ziegler is president and CEO of The Ziegler Insurance Agency and Financial Services Firm. He also serves as executive director of Community Action Network, an organization designed to improve conditions in the community. He attended Chicago Vocational High School and Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he earned a business degree. He pursued additional studies at Keller Graduate School Downtown Chicago and was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in political science from the University of Chicago. His plan to re-energize the 21st Ward involves quality education, increased police presence to fight gang and drug crime, infrastructure improvements and faith-based initiatives to benefit the community.


Doris Lewis Brooks


Doris Lewis Brooks has lived in the Washington Heights neighborhood for 31 years. As a member of the WVON radio station family for over a decade, Brooks gained skills in communication, fundraising and budget management. She’s also an experienced event planner, interested in educating and providing entertainment outlets for community residents. Brooks has worked closely with the Chicago Park District to bring concerts and exhibits to the African American community, and she was instrumental in establishing and nurturing the Juneteenth Celebration, an event commemorating the abolition of slavery. She has a vision for a safe community where families and seniors can flourish.


Patricia A. Foster

No further information provided.


Ken Lewis


Ken Lewis is a lifelong resident and business owner in the 21st Ward. He is a community representative of The Fort Dearborn Elementary Local School Council, as well as administrative officer of the Brainerd Alumni Association, an organization dedicated to the improvement of the Brainerd community. Lewis has owned an operated a barbershop in the community for 21 years. He will focus on fighting gun violence and fixing unemployment.


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