Gardiner says alderman ‘Not a job of power but service’
by BRIAN NADIG
Being an elected official is "not a job of power but service," according to 45th Ward alderman-elect Jim Gardiner.
Gardiner and 39th Ward alderman-elect Samantha Nugent spoke at the April 5 meeting of the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce.
Gardiner told the chamber that one of his main reasons he decided to run for alderman was to give back to the community. He said that his coaches from programs at local parks served as important mentors while growing up in the Gladstone/Rosedale Park area.
"I don’t come from a political background," Gardiner said. "My parents came from Ireland. I’m one of seven children."
He said that knocking on thousands of doors during the campaign was a humbling experience and that his motivation to serve as alderman will come from the many families who invited him inside their homes to discuss the issues of the neighborhood.
"It makes me proud to serve you," Gardiner said.
Gardiner won the aldermanic seat in the Feb. 26 municipal election, defeating incumbent Alderman John Arena, Marilyn Morales and Robert Bank. When he is sworn in next month, Gardiner will be taking a leave of absence from his job as a Chicago firefighter.
Nugent became alderman-elect earlier this week in the April 2 run-off election when she defeated Robert Murphy, who is the 39th Ward Democratic committeeman. Nugent once served as the chief of staff for the Cook County Department of Homeland Security.
"I’m 48 hours out being alderman-elect, and it feels good," Nugent said.
She said that her focus would be on providing city services and public infrastructure improvements, including schools. She said that when the city does its job, it leads to more local investment and businesses coming to the area.
"Look to me as a partner and a friend," Nugent said.
The portion of Gladstone Park located north of Peterson Avenue is in the 39th Ward, while to the south is the 45th Ward.