CHICAGO — A North Side lawyer, turned activist, is looking to replace a first-term alderman as the 2023 City Council election remains far away.
Sam Royko, son of legendary newspaper columnist Mike Royko, wants to write a new chapter at City Hall.
The 35-year -old attorney said he was motivated to run for alderman after the 2021 carjacking of his girlfriend.
It was 2 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon. Anyone could have been out there at that time. She was paying attention, she saw them coming,” he said. “It wasn’t something that we thought would just happen. You know you don’t think you’re going to drop off a wedding gift and something like that can happen. And that really created an urge for us to do something.”
His girlfriend was fine and Royko got his car back, but police never made an arrest.
After the incident, Royko created the Greater West Town Community Coalition — a group working to address public safety issues.
“We started to advocate together. We need to do something. Something needs to change,” he said. “People need to feel safe. We can look at both the long-term systemic issues in Chicago that need to be treated but we also need people to feel safe walking out the door right now.”
Royko hopes to win the seat now held by first-term 1st Ward Ald. Daniel La Spata, a member of the Democratic Socialist Caucus and champion of affordable housing. La Spata has not said whether or not he will seek re-election.
I think communication can be improved, I think people want to know what’s going on,” Royko said. “My dad would be thrilled with what I’m doing. Part of this comes from my love for Chicago that comes from seeing how much he loved Chicago.”
Ald. La Spata declined an interview when reached for comment.