LOGAN SQUARE — The former treasurer of an independent Democratic organization started by Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) has filed paperwork to challenge Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) in February's aldermanic election.
Logan Square resident Elise Doody-Jones said she resigned earlier this month from 1st Ward First and closed her day care business in June to prepare to become a candidate.
"Democracy works best when we have choices. Everyone should have choices in all of the races. That is the sign of a healthy democracy," Doody-Jones said Thursday.
Doody-Jones, who lives in Logan Square, filed paperwork for her political committee, Friends for Elise Doody-Jones with the State Board of Elections on Monday.
A resident of the 1st Ward, Doody-Jones, 42, lives in the 2800 block of West Lyndale Street with her husband and son, who is in fourth grade at Goethe School.
Though she does not live in the 32nd Ward, Doody-Jones said she is prepared to move there if elected.
"The 32nd Ward is an area I am familiar with that I can win. There are a lot of phenomenal women out there running and I have been training for this for some time. There's no better time than the present," Doody-Jones said.
Doody-Jones is a 2013 graduate of the Illinois Women's Institute for Leadership, a nonprofit group that selects 12 Illinois women each year for an eight-month fellowship designed to help propel them into elected positions.
Until her resignation from 1st Ward First earlier this month, Doody-Jones was helping to collect signatures to put Moreno on the ballot.
Doody-Jones declined to talk about her involvement with 1st Ward First and with Moreno.
"That was all in the past and I am focused on moving forward," she said, adding, "I have been doing a lot of work for my neighborhood and I want to take all that I learned to improve the schools and the neighborhood to the next level, which is an aldermanic level."
When asked about which issues she plans to run her campaign on, Doody-Jones said, "At this time I am focusing on getting on the ballot before addressing issues. I will be happy to talk issues after that."
Doody-Jones said that since news of her candidacy was announced on Our Urban Times on Wednesday, she has had "overwhelming support and people coming out of the woodwork and jumping at the opportunity to help circulate petitions."
Doody-Jones founded Friends of Goethe School in 2006 and organized a Punk Rock Karaoke fundraiser at Quencher's Saloon that benefited the school.
Johnny "Juan" Elias, president of 1st Ward First, which has an office at 2048 N. Western Ave., adjacent to Moreno's ward office, was unavailable for comment on Doody-Jones' resignation.
According to its website, 1st Ward First, "organizes fundraisers, which benefit Alderman Moreno, the Democratic party in the 1st Ward and local community institutions."
Recently, Adam Corona resigned from his role as a board member of 1st Ward First to run against Roberto Maldonado in the 26th Ward.
Corona said he was "very surprised" when he heard Doody-Jones would be challenging Waguespack. He said that right up until the time she resigned, Doody-Jones was trying to support Moreno's re-election.
"I do not know what the cause is [for people leaving], I was committed to [Moreno] when I stepped down. After I left, people started dropping off," Corona said. Of the 11 board members listed on the site last week, only four remain.
The organization now lists 10 board members: Moreno; Elias; Ramond Valadez, Moreno's chief of staff; Eric Sherman; Joel Stopka; Jay Ramirez; Iris Milan; Jerry Gabriealtos; Orlando Lopez and Edward Serrano.Waguespack could not be reached for comment.
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