After weeks of considering it, Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) officially launched his bid to run for city treasurer on Monday.
Earlier this year, Pawar said he didn’t intend to run for another term as 47th ward alderman. And when Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he was not going to seek another term as mayor, Pawar initially said he wasn’t going to rule out running for mayor but that his family was the biggest factor in deciding which office to pursue next.
“A work-life balance is my top priority — being an equal partner with my wife and being a dad,” Pawar said. “And those are two things that will always come first for me. But I’ve also always been very interested in the treasurer job because of my work around economic policy. There’s an opportunity for me to mobilize our dollars and values as treasurer.”
That opportunity came when City Treasurer Kurt Summers said he would not seek re-election earlier this month. After Pawar announced his candidacy, he was endorsed by fellow Aldermen Pat Dowell (3), David Moore (17) and Ricardo Muñoz (22). Pawar made his announcement at the plaza outside the Thompson Center on Monday morning.
Two other candidates who have indicated they are interested in replacing Summers, too — accountant Pete Gariepy and State Rep. Melissa Conyears-Ervin (D-Chicago), 28th Ward Ald. Jason Ervin’s wife.
If elected, Pawar said he plans to pursue a “bold progressive agenda,” that would include using city resources to act as a “developer” for affordable housing, creating a public bank, addressing student loan debt and coordinating with the City Clerk’s office on debt forgiveness plans so people who get tickets aren’t forced into bankruptcy trying to pay citations they can’t afford.
Pawar was first elected 47th Ward alderman in 2011 and was reelected in 2015. He’s the first Indian-American and Asian-American elected to City Council and he ran unsuccessfully for Illinois governor. Recently, Pawar was named chair of the Chicago Resilient Families Task Force, which is looking at how a “universal basic income” pilot program could function in Chicago.
“There a lot of talk of right-wing billionaires using money to influence our government,” Pawar said. “I want to get people excited about our city’s billions. We should mobilize our dollars for financial justice and racial equity.”