DESI TALK CHICAGO – that’s all you need to know 4 March 8, 2019 COVER STORY Off To The Runoff! Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar won a place on the ballot for the April 2 runoffs for Treasurer of 3rd largest city in nation By Ela Dutt he Indian-American candidate for Treasurer of Chicago, mustered enough votes in the municipal elections held Feb. 27, to be in the April 2 runoff. Alderman Ameya Pawar, who represents the 47th District as a council member in Chicago, made a great showing yesterday, coming out neck-and-neck with Illinois State Representative Melissa Conyears- Ervin, two of three candidates in the run- ning on Feb. 27. Since neither candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, regulations require them to be in the runoff. According to the Chicago Sun Times, with 95.4 per- cent of 2,069 precincts reporting late Tuesday, Conyears-Ervin garnered 44.2 percent and Pawar 41.7 percent, with Peter Gariepy trailing at a little over 14 percent. Pawar is the first and only Indian- American in the Chicago city council, serv- ing since 2011, and if victorious April 2, he will become one of the highest from the community to hold city office in this coun- try. “We’re in the runoff! And today, we go even bigger. Circle April 2nd on your calen- dar and sign up today to volunteer. Without your support, we wouldn’t have made it this far. With your support, there’s no limit to what we can do,” Pawar tweet- ed. He has campaigned on a progressive platform asserting, “It’s time to enact a bold progressive agenda to harness the financial power of 2.7 million Chicagoans,” on his election website The leading newspaper Chicago Tribune endorsed him with the words “At a time when transparency and ethics policy stand tall in voters’ minds, Pawar has proved committed to both.” The Chicago Sun times said, “He will take his progressive ideas to the treasurer’s office.” “Newspaper endorsements don’t neces- sarily do much,” for a candidate, Ann Kalayil, founder of the South Asian American Policy & Research Institute in Chicago, told News India Times. “He’s got to raise money,” to use in the run-up to April 2. And in the upcoming five weeks, Kalayil said, “He has got to mobilize people who are not his typical base. It is tough.” On his election website, Pawar recalls hard times for his immigrant family noting that his father immigrated to Chicago more than 40 years ago, and his fortunes were affected by “a turbulent time in American manufacturing where off- shoring, automation, and the squeezing of workers meant he was trapped in an end- less cycle of starting a new job and layoffs.” “In just 40 years, stagnant wages, shrinking benefits, union busting, and constant uncertainty have chipped away at the American Dream of prosperity and sta- bility driven by hard work,” Pawar con- tends. “Experiencing first-hand how income inequality impacted my family, my community, and the city inspired me to go into public service.” He has promised to reach the city’s investments to boost communities and families, launching a people’s public bank to expand local businesses, finance afford- able housing, fund new infrastructure, and refinance student loans “to help Chicagoans stay in the city while attracting new ones, reversing a decades long popu- lation decline.” “He is a really good candidate,” said Kalayil. “Not only that he is a good elected official – authentic, and with a moral com- pass,” she added. Pawar was also endorsed by the SEIU Local 1, union, which proclaimed in a tweet, ” The working families of Local 1 are proud to support @Ameya_Pawar_IL a pro- gressive champion who has always had the back of all Chicagoans, whether they be white, Black or brown. Let’s change Chicago for the better, together #WeRise with Pawar!” Environmental groups like Sierra Club have also endorsed him. After the results of the Feb. 27 elections were out, the Sun Times described Pawar as “a rising star in city politics.” But not many people pay attention to a City Treasurer, Kalayil said, “The coming weeks are going to be a challenge.” Pawar realizes the dangers of low voting on April 2, and has stepped up his out- reach. What may work in favor of voters coming to the polls April 2, is that the may- oral race is also up for grabs in a runoff to elect their first woman mayor – the candi- dates two African-American women in the running are Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle. “Thanks to your support and the efforts of our incredible volunteers, the people of Chicago have sent us into the runoff today. And tomorrow, we go big,” he said in a mailing asking for donations to “continue reaching out to Chicagoans in every neigh- borhood about our bold progressive agen- da. We have the capability to create Chicago’s Green New Deal, democratize our investments, and so much more,” he urged. “But at the same time, thousands of Chicagoans didn’t vote in this election, and many more may not even realize that a runoff is happening,” Pawar warned, adding, “We need to do everything in our power to reach out to new communities, new voters, and new potential supporters to convince them to stand with us in our bold campaign to invest in our future.” Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar, running for Treasurer, will be in the April 2 runoff for the seat. AmeyaPawar/Twitter Courtesy:AmeyaPawar/ Facebook Courtesy: T Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar, speaking at a gathering. Photo from campaign website asking for volunteers for April 2 runoff race for Treasurer of Chicago.