BRIDGEPORT — Next spring, a Daley could once again loom large at Chicago's City Council chambers.
Patrick Daley Thompson declared his candidacy for 11th Ward alderman on Tuesday after a surprise announcement Ald. James Balcer, who won't seek re-election because of health issues related to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Casey Cora says the 11th Ward race has been turned upside down:
Thompson is the grandson of former Mayor Richard J. Daley and nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Despite those legendary family ties, Thompson said in an interview with DNAinfo Chicago he hopes 11th Ward voters will "look at me and my candidacy and judge me for Patrick Thompson.
"I've been involved my whole life. I've been engaged and involved in the community. That's what I want to be judged on, my ideas and my platforms."
A real estate and corporate law attorney, Thompson also serves as commissioner at the Metropolitan Water District of Greater Chicago.
He's on the board of everything from the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence to the Bridgeport branch of the Boys and Girls Club, and also helps handle the finances at his neighborhood parish, Nativity of Our Lord. He also serves on a number of business and law associations.
Thompson has the backing of the Cook County Democratic Party, where his uncle Cook County Commissioner John Daley serves as committeeman. The pair share office space in the Bridgeport's 11th Ward offices.
"I think Patrick has a background of commitment to the community. He's a strong candidate," John Daley said.
Thompson — a 45-year-old father of three — said he'd build on the accomplishments of Balcer, who he credited for the renovations of local parks, infrastructure improvements and luring job-creating businesses to the Stockyards industrial park.
Though it's early in the election season, Thompson hinted at his political platform, which he said will include maintaining public safety, striving for quality schools and attracting new business, including to the much-criticized, boarded-up stretches of Halsted Street.
His background in real estate law and development can help get things done, he said.
"From a business perspective, we're in a great area to attract new business. To make development and redevelopment successful, you've got to reach out to developers and listen to residents," he said.
As the action in the vaunted 11th Ward unfolded rapidly Tuesday, Maureen Sullivan, one of the candidates squaring off against Thompson, said the Daley heir "has not been anywhere near the fight to improve the 11th Ward."
Sullivan said in a statement "she's thrilled for the opportunity to stack her record of community service up against anybody's in the race — and to tower it against one more of what Chicago doesn't need in its leadership: a lawyer taking a break from doing favors for rich people, pretending to care about ordinary voters."
Balcer, meanwhile, is throwing all of his support to Thompson.
"Number one, I support Pat Thompson. But whatever person succeeds me, I want them to do a good job," Balcer said. "I want them working with the people. The people put you here, the people can take you out."
The new 11th Ward expands in 2015 to include parts of Little Italy, University Village and Pilsen. The aldermanic elections take place Feb. 24, 2015.
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