13th Ward candidate for alderman: Marty Quinn

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13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn is endorsed for re-election by the Sun-Times. | Sun-Times file

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The Sun-Times Editorial Board asked 13th Ward alderman Marty Quinn to complete a candidate questionnaire to find out his views on a range of issues facing the city and his ward. Quinn submitted the following responses (the Sun-Times does not edit candidate responses):

Who is Marty Quinn?

He’s running for: 13th Ward alderman His political/civic background: Alderman His occupation: Alderman, 13th Ward His education: Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, St. Xavier University

Top priorities

What are the top three priorities for your ward?

Marty Quinn:In the 13th Ward, my top priority is opportunity. I believe the best way to provide opportunity to all our 13th Ward residents and families is to provide great schools, good-paying jobs and somewhere safe to play and relax, like our beautiful parks.

Recent civic work

Please tell us what you have done in the last two years to serve the city, your neighborhood or a civic organization. Please be specific.

Marty Quinn:I crafted my vision for the 13th Ward alongside my residents. In the last two years, I have:

  • Knocked on over 9,000 doors and spoken to more than 3,000 residents.
  • To reduce crime and protect property values, I purchased a graffiti blaster to remove graffiti seven days a week in the 13th Ward.
  • Compared to the north side, the south side has lagged in available quality academic programs for our children. In the last eight years I have worked to secure close to $250 million to build to new schools and enhance curriculum for the students of the south side, most of it secured in the last two years.
  • I have secured close to $10 million to upgrade the parks in the 13th ward so our children have safe places to play after school and in the summer, much of it secured in the last two years.
  • To reduce basement flooding I have secured over $20 million to improve the sewer system in the 13th Ward, more than half secured in the last two years.
  • I operate the best constituent services offices in the city of Chicago and have the only aldermanic office that offers free snow removal for at least 500 senior citizens each year, electronic recycling and property tax seminars. I have returned over $1 million dollars in over paid taxes back to residents of the 13th Ward.
  • I have recruited new businesses to the once blighted Cicero corridor that have created new jobs.
  • I was the lead sponsor of a city ordinance to ban registered sex offenders from Chicago Public Libraries, taking two years to pass.
  • To stop criminals from stealing catalytic converters from cars, I passed an ordinance in my first term prohibiting the resale of catalytic converters in the city of Chicago.
  • To protect the property values and the integrity of our community, I voted against Rahm Emanuel and the Home Share Ordinance. I launched an opt-out campaign which stops residents from turning their homes into hotels.
  • I have been the lead voice in the fight to make sure the sound proof windows are safe and have pushed the department of Aviation to conduct air quality testing in homes and the replacement of windows that have been confirmed to be off-gassing.
  • When a CPS principal fired 10 teachers from a 13th Ward elementary school, I fought for the teachers’ reinstatement and won.
  • I supported the ordinance to allow the inspector general to investigate aldermen.
  • I have rejected every pay increase that has been offered and voluntarily took furlough days.
  • Placing a high value on constituent service, my constituent service offices are regularly open and staffed on weekends and holidays.


Chicago is on the hook for $42 billion in unfunded pension liabilities, which works out to $35,000 for every household. Those pensions, in the language of the Illinois Constitution, “shall not be diminished or impaired.” Should the state Constitution be amended to allow a reduction in pension benefits for current city employees or retirees? How about reducing pension benefits for new employees? Please explain.

Marty Quinn:City employees deserve strong pensions for the work they do tirelessly for our city. There are outside funding sources we can tap to pay down the city’s pension debt, including considering legalizing marijuana.


Of the following often proposed sources of new revenue for Chicago, which of the following do you favor, and why? A Chicago casino, legalized and taxed recreational marijuana, a LaSalle Street tax, a commuter tax, a property tax increase, a municipal sales tax increase, a real estate transfer tax increase, video gambling.

Marty Quinn:Because Chicago taxpayers are stretched thin, additional taxes should be off the table. I am supportive of exploring additional revenue sources, including the prospects of a Chicago casino. We have decriminalized marijuana already. The next step should be ensuring that the revenue generated from its legalization goes to pay down the city’s pension debt.

What other sources of new revenue do you favor or oppose?

Marty Quinn:Because Chicago taxpayers are stretched thin, additional taxes should be off the table. I am supportive of exploring additional revenue sources, including the prospects of a Chicago casino. We have decriminalized marijuana already. The next step should be ensuring that the revenue generated from its legalization goes to pay down the city’s pension debt.


Tax-increment financing districts are a primary economic development tool for Chicago. In a TIF district, taxes from the growth of property values are set aside for 23 years to be used to support public projects and private development. What changes do you favor, if any, in Chicago’s TIF program?

Marty Quinn: I recognize that TIFs serve a purpose, but further reforms are necessary. They drain resources away from our schools and city services. When it comes to TIFs, there are winners and losers. The 13th Ward is a loser. We don’t benefit from TIFs.

Aldermanic power

What will you do to rein in aldermanic prerogative?

Marty Quinn: I supported the ordinance to allow the Inspector General to investigate aldermen. We should be subject to scrutiny and review like any other elected official.

Police reform

The City of Chicago has entered into a federally monitored consent decree to overhaul the training and practices of the Chicago Police Department. Civil libertarians say it is long overdue, but others say it is unnecessary and could make it tougher for the police to do their job. What’s your view?

Marty Quinn: I will closely examine how the consent decree supports Chicago police and allows them to do their jobs safely and effectively.


What should Chicago do to reduce the number of illegal guns?

Marty Quinn: Because most weapons used to commit crimes in Chicago are purchased outside of the city’s jurisdiction, Chicago officials have an obligation to work with leaders at all levels to show why comprehensive gun safety reform is so desperately needed. I support the enforcement of gun laws on the books, the new firearm dealer licensing law that was recently signed and better coordinated local, state and federal action to shut down the illegal flow of guns from Indiana and other states.

I want to be a part of an effort in conjunction with all city officials, and our representatives at the state and federal level, to urge our neighboring states to act, and move the federal government toward real efforts to stem the tide of gun trafficking.


What is the appropriate role of charter schools within the Chicago Public Schools system?

Marty Quinn: I support Chicago Public Schools 100 percent. When it comes to charter schools, I believe they can drain students and resources away from neighborhood schools.

Should the Chicago Board of Education be solely appointed by the mayor, as is now the case? Or should Chicago switch to an elected school board or some hybrid?

Marty Quinn: I believe in increasing the accountability of the people who serve on the school board, however we need to be sure that an elected school board can’t be hijacked by extremists who don’t support strong, neighborhood public schools.

Affordable housing

Is there enough affordable housing in your ward? Please explain.

Marty Quinn: Yes. I am proud to have recently worked on Midway Village, an affordable housing complex for senior citizens that provides financial support for veterans.


Chicago, by ordinance, is an official “welcoming city.” This means the Chicago police are generally prohibited from detaining undocumented immigrants on behalf of federal immigration authorities. What’s your position on this policy? What more — or less — should be done with respect to undocumented immigrants who live in Chicago?

Marty Quinn: Chicago is a welcoming city and should continue to be one. Immigrants come to this country for the same reasons that people have always come to America – to secure economic opportunity, refuge from religious or political persecution or to escape violence.


Should the inspector general have the power to audit and review City Council programs, operations and committees? Why or why not?

Marty Quinn: Yes. We are public servants and our work should be open to public scrutiny. I supported the ordinance to allow the Inspector General to investigate aldermen.

Would you employ, or have you employed, staff in your office who have outside jobs or contracts with entities that do business with the city? If so, please explain.

Marty Quinn: No, I do not.

Role model

Is there a past or current alderman whom you model yourself after, or would model yourself after, or take inspiration from? Please explain.

Marty Quinn:Former 11th Ward Alderman Jim Balcer was a champion of veterans. As a Vietnam veteran who earned a Bronze Star, he was active in the veterans’ community and utilized his platform to educate Chicagoans on the importance of taking a moment to reflect on the many sacrifices of veterans.


Also running for 13th Ward alderman:


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