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Bernie Sanders Chooses Chicago's Youngest Alderman to Fire Up Crowd

By Paul Biasco | August 18, 2015 5:57am
 Bernie Sanders was flanked by Chicago's first term progressive aldermen Susan Sadlowski Garza (10) and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) during his fundraising speech at Park West Monday night.
Bernie Sanders was flanked by Chicago's first term progressive aldermen Susan Sadlowski Garza (10) and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) during his fundraising speech at Park West Monday night.
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DNAinfo/Paul Biasco

LINCOLN PARK — Just four months into his first term, Chicago's youngest alderman was asked to give the opening remarks for the man who hopes to overturn America's political foundation.

Bernie Sanders' campaign called 26-year-old old Carlos Ramirez-Rosa Monday morning hours before the presidential aspirant's first stop in Chicago as a  national candidate.

Sanders wanted him to give the opening remarks at a fundraising rally along with fellow first term alderman Susan Sadlowski Garza and former mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

"I found out earlier today. It's exciting," Ramirez-Rosa said before the event. "I'm 'feeling the Bern' and I think thousands of Chicagoans across the city are 'feeling the Bern.'" 

Ramirez-Rosa, a first-time politician, is one of the youngest Chicagoans ever elected alderman and the first openly gay Latino to be elected to the City Council.

His huge margin of victory was considered a major upset during the February elections.

Paul Biasco says Ramirez-Rosa fired up the capacity crowd:

"I think I ran a grassroots campaign; Bernie is running a grassroots campaign," Ramirez-Rosa said. "He's authentic. He's true to his message and he's going to prioritize working and middle class families as our president."

Both Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and Garza (10th) toppled incumbent aldermen in their races after campaigning as progressives who would fight the status quo.

Money, especially money in politics, was a central theme of the night.

"At the end of the day, money doesn't always win," Sanders said.

Garza, who also spoke during the rally, was backed by Sanders during her race against mayoral-backed John Pope, in April.

"During my 10th Ward aldermanic campaign we were outspent three-to-one and I expect Bernie will be outspent during his campaign as well, but money doesn't always win," Garza said.

Sanders, who represents Vermont as an independent, spoke for about 45 minutes to a packed audience of about 600 at the Park West theater in Lincoln Park.

The event was a fundraiser and was billed as a meet-and-greet with the candidate.

Both Ramirez-Rosa and Garza flanked Sanders on stage during the presidential candidate's speech, which focused on income inequality, campaign finance reform, race relations, climate change and establishment politics.

"To stand on a stage with Bernie Sanders was probably one of the biggest highlights of my life, besides having my children and my grandkids," Garza said after the event.

Garza and Ramirez-Rosa are both members of the City Council's Progressive Caucus.

"I think [my constituents] want to see a president who is not selling out to big corporations, that isn’t taking donations from big corporations and that is prioritizing our neighborhoods and families," Ramirez-Rosa said.

The crowd at Park West in Lincoln Park listen to Bernie Sanders speak. [DNAinfo/Paul Biasco]

Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) was the first speaker at the Bernie Sanders event. [DNAinfo/Paul Biasco]

The line outside Park West ahead of the Bernie Sanders event. [DNAinfo/Paul Biasco]

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