CITY HALL — A top aide to Cook County Commissioner John Daley intends to run for 2nd Ward alderman, regardless of what incumbent Ald. Bob Fioretti decides on his political future.
Brian Hopkins, chief of staff to the Bridgeport Democrat, who is chairman of the Cook County Board's Finance Committee, said he intends to run for the office in 2015.
"I have not made an official announcement about a candidacy in the 2nd Ward, but I am planning one, and I intend to make a formal announcement at some point in the future," Hopkins said Friday.
The 2nd Ward was completely changed in the remap that takes effect with the 2015 elections, and Fioretti would have to move if he were to win re-election. He has also been mentioned as a mayoral candidate. Fioretti has declined comment while weighing his political future.
"I know the alderman has options," Hopkins said. "I don't know what he will ultimately do, and I think there are a lot of people besides myself who are waiting to see.
"I'm planning to run, and I intend to run, whether Ald. Fioretti runs in the 2nd Ward or a different ward or seeks some other office," Hopkins added.
Hopkins, though, would also have to move to hold the office. While he said he has served 14 years with the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, and half of Streeterville will be within the 2nd Ward boundaries, he said he's in the wrong half by three blocks from his current residence. A "grace period" would allow him to stay put, but he would eventually have to move into the ward if victorious.
"I do plan to move, and I'm actively looking right now," Hopkins said. "I think it's better to do that sooner rather than later, to sort of take that off the table" as a campaign issue.
Hopkins said it's early to address the issues, with the municipal primary more than a year off, but he is gathering policy advisers and forming the topics for white papers.
"I really intend to have a substantive campaign," he said. "I want to go deep on some of the issues voters care about."
City financing, he said, is a top priority for all 50 aldermen, given the debt and pension concerns, as are Chicago Public Schools. Hopkins has contributed to Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) and said they would "most likely" share many positions.
On public safety, Hopkins endorsed Reilly's proposal to hire off-duty police officers for the Magnificent Mile using funds amassed from private interests such as stores.