In 2011, Ameya Pawar was elected Alderman of Chicago’s 47th Ward. Alderman Pawar is the first Asian-American elected to the Chicago City Council. While running for office, Alderman Pawar discussed the need for aldermen to legislate on city-wide issues in addition to ensuring city services are delivered efficiently. Since taking office, Alderman Pawar has sponsored and passed eight pieces of city-wide legislation:
- The passage of the Sweatshop-Free Procurement ordinance.
- The passage of the Moratorium of SRO Conversions & Demolitions ordinance.
- 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).
These legislative efforts represent bona-fide reform and make structural changes to Chicago government to ensure greater consumer protections, ensure greater transparency and accountability of tax incentive programs, and provide independent analysis of major legislation. And COFA provides 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 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, Alderman 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 $350k in private grants for the following schools:
- McPherson $100k
- Waters $100k
- Ravenswood $100k
- Audubon $50k
Alderman 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. Alderman Pawar was also appointed by Gov. Quinn to serve on the State of Illinois Asian American Employment Plan Council.
Prior to his election, Alderman Pawar was on staff at Northwestern University in the Office of Emergency Management. While working at Northwestern, Alderman Pawar and two of his classmates from the University of Chicago were awarded a contract from Taylor and Francis to write a textbook based on their work in emergency management. The textbook elaborates on a model called “social intelligence” that Alderman Pawar developed with Charna Epstein and Scott Simon at the University of Chicago’s MSTRM program. Their work calls for the real-time aggregation of data to develop composite views of communities to better inform emergency preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery activities. Mr. Pawar and his co-authors have presented their work at annual FEMA conferences and anticipate a winter 2014 release date for their book. Alderman Pawar holds an MS in Threat and Response Management from the University of Chicago and an MPA in Public Administration from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He was a US State Department Scholar in 2009. Currently, Mr. Pawar is pursuing his third master’s degree at the University of Chicago in the School of Social Service Administration. In 2011, Alderman Pawar was named to Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 list. More recently, Alderman Pawar was awarded the Visionary Leadership Award by Arise Worker Center for his role in passing the Chicago Anti-Wage Theft Ordinance.
In his spare time, Alderman Pawar enjoys running, promoting bully-breed rescue organizations and visiting US National Parks.