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Ald. George Cardenas is the last to leave the Chicago City Council

Mayor Lori Lightfoot will get the chance to appoint a fourth member of the Chicago City Council next month as 12th Ward Ald. George Cardenas has announced that he will step down as Chairman of the Board effective November 30.

Cardenas is slated to fill a seat on the Cook County Board of Review, the property tax appeals body, after next Tuesday’s election. He is indisputable. Whoever Lightfoot chooses to succeed him will have the upper hand in the post ahead of the 2023 municipal election.

Cardenas has represented the district that includes McKinley Park, Brighton Park and part of Little Village since 2003, and has been a staunch ally of the mayor in the administrations of Richard J. Daly, Ram Emanuel and Lightfoot. Cardenas has led iterations of the council’s environmental protection committee since 2011, and since last year has served as Lightfoot’s deputy chief in charge of whipping up votes.

“When I first ran for office, the communities in the 12th District faced tremendous challenges and lacked basic resources. As an Alderman, I have maintained a laser focus on the real issues affecting my constituents. My staff and I have worked diligently to be efficient, responsive and accountable,” he said in his resignation letter, citing the construction of Back of the Yards High School and Calmeca Academy as key accomplishments.

“I hope my successor builds on these efforts and is a leader who is not afraid to make tough decisions to keep our communities healthy and safe,” he wrote.

Cardenas has already endorsed his former chief of staff, Anabel Abarca, to replace him. She was also an aide to U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley and worked on current-Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s 2012 congressional campaign. Julia Ramirez also filed with the city and state to run for the 12th District.

Cardenas’ replacement follows three others this year as several aldermen have already left the Council. About a dozen others are not running for re-election.

In September Lightfoot appointed Timmy Knudsen to replace the retiring Aldo. Michelle Smith in the 43rd Ward. In June, she chose weekend 24th Ward Ald. Michael Scott’s sister, Monique Scott, will replace him ahead of 18 other contenders. Scott left the city council to take a job in the private sector at Cinespace. He became Lightfoot’s choice soon after seat on the Chicago Board of Education.

In March she chose Nicole Lee, a United Airlines executive with deep roots in the city’s Chinese-American community, to serve as Wart’s 11th chairman. Lee, the first Asian-American woman to serve on the Chicago City Council, succeeded Patrick Daley Thompson after the Feb. criminal conviction for tax evasion and lying to banking regulators.


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