In 2011, Ameya Pawar was elected Alderman of Chicago’s 47th Ward. Ald. Pawar is the first Asian-American elected to Chicago City Council.. While running for office, Ald. Pawar discussed the need for aldermen legislate on city-wide issues in addition to ensuring City services are delivered efficiently. Since taking office, Ald. Pawar has sponsored and passed eight pieces of city-wide legislation. The legislation includes:
- The passage of the Chicago Urban Agriculture Ordinance
- The passage of amendments to the Chicago Human Rights Ordinance to prevent employment discrimination.
- The passage of one the county’s strongest anti-wage theft ordinances.
- The passage of ordinance licensing debt collectors to prevent predatory debt collections methods.
- The passage of TIF reform via the TIF Accountability Ordinance.
- The passage of an ordinance to create an independent budget office for City Council, the Office of Financial Analysis (COFA).
- The passage of Chicago’s Sweat Free Procurement Ordinance.
- The passage of the Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Moratorium on demolitions and conversions.
These legislative efforts represent bona-fide reform and make structural changes to Chicago government to ensure greater consumer protections, greater transparency and accountability of tax incentive programs, and provides independent analysis of major legislation. This office will provide independent analysis in the same way the Congressional Budget Office serves the United States Congress.
Alderman Pawar sits on the following City Council committees:
- Committee on Aviation–Vice Chair
- Committee on the Budget & Government Operations
- Committee on Committees, Rules & Ethics
- Committee on Economic, Capital & Technology Development
- Committee on Public Safety
- Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs & Recreation
- Committee on Zoning, Landmarks & Building Standards
In his ward, Ald. Pawar created a k-12 neighborhood school community group called, GROW47. The purpose of GROW47 is to organize residents, business owners, and parents around neighborhood schools. Major accomplishments of GROW47 include:
- Implemented StoryBus program (insert link) for all 47th Ward schools for 2013-2014 year
- Allocated $16.5 million in TIF funding for Coonley Elementary annex
- $2 million in TIF funding for Lake View High School STEM Program
- Secured $10 million in State capital funding for the Bell Elementary addition
- Partnered with Friends of Ravenswood and Ravenswood Principal to identify $750k in IEPA grant funds to remake Ravenswood School playground
- Allocated $162,000 in aldermanic menu funding for Ravenswood Elementary
- Allocated $$305,000 in aldermanic menu funding for Audubon Elementary
- Identified private sector donations for neighborhood schools
- Facilitated the formation of the Friends of Amundsen groups
- #GROW47 secured $405k in private grants for the following schools:
- McPherson $105k
- Waters $100k
- Ravenswood $100k
- Audubon $50k
- Hamilton $50k
Ald. Pawar also led the effort to implement participatory budgeting in the 47th ward. Residents and business owners of the ward began voting in 2012 to help inform $1.3 million in annual infrastructure spending. Additionally, Alderman Pawar has created numerous community councils to help inform his decisions and address neighborhood issues. The councils include: the 47th Ward Council, Zoning Advisory Committee (ZAC – link), 47th Ward Senior Council (link), 47th Ward Green Council, the 47th Ward Transportation Committee, the Quality of Life Committee (public safety) and many more. Ald. Pawar is currently overseeing over $300 million in public and private projects in the 47th Ward.
In addition to his work in the 47th Ward and Chicago, Alderman Pawar was appointed by Governor Patrick Quinn to serve on the Illinois Innovation Council (IIC) where he has been working with IIC members and the Governor to help jump-start innovation and job creation in Illinois. Ald. Pawar was also appointed by Gov. Quinn to serve on the State of Illinois Asian American Employment Plan Council.