Jessica Gutierrez launches aldermanic run vowing to be independent of her father
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Jessica Washington Gutierrez, daughter of outgoing U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, formally announced on Monday her candidacy for aldermen against Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th), calling the 15-year City Council incumbent “out of touch.”
Ahead of Jessica Gutierrez’s announcement, her North Side campaign office filled with supporters greeting each other in Spanish and with kisses on the cheek. Her father watched from the sidelines.
“Yo soy Jessica Washington Gutierrez,” the 30-year-old candidate greeted the audience in Spanish.
During her announcement, Jessica Washington Gutierrez drew attention to police reform — her opponent’s current political battle.
“The incumbent Ald. Reboyras is the chairman of the City Council Committee on Public Safety. What an incredible platform, what an opportunity he has to lead the way forward for meaningful, robust, comprehensive police reform,” Jessica Washington Gutierrez said. “And yet, too often he has failed to step up and lead, instead, he does what he’s instructed.”
Reboyras is an ally of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, co-chairing Emanuel’s current re-election campaign, emphasized his daughter’s independence from the mayor and himself.
“We see young people and we say they have to be an appendix of somebody. I assure you my daughter is an independent, free-thinking woman,” Luis Gutierrez said, later adding “As a father, I never want to make that choice but I think it’s pretty obvious whose side I’ll be on.”
Reboyras told the Sun-Times on Monday he hasn’t had a discussion with the mayor but “would hope” to have his support. Reboyras did not immediately respond to requests for comment after his new rival launched her campaign and blasted his record.
Jessica Gutierrez also pushed against the political tie to her father and the mayor, instead focusing her announcement on the “55,000 doors” in the 30th Ward on which she plans to knock.
“As a daughter, I am fiercely loyal to my mother and my father, but let me be clear, that as an alderman, my only loyalty will be to the people of the 30th Ward,” she said. “My father always respected my opinions, and let me tell you sometimes we didn’t get along.”
She is, however, seeking the endorsement of Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. She was a North Side field director for Garcia’s Congressional primary campaign to replace her father. She also worked on Delia Ramirez’s campaign for 4th district state representative — among the successful primary candidates on Garcia’s slate.
Garcia told the Sun-Times last week that he “has known Jessica since she was a baby” but denied any sort of political deal between himself and Rep. Luis Gutierrez to support Jessica Gutierrez for City Council.
Ramirez, at the announcement, called Jessica Gutierrez a good friend who is “not afraid to stand to whoever is in power.”
“We need people that are not going to be seat warmers,” Ramirez said. “We’ve seen a lot of that for too long and it’s killing us.”
“I’m very proud of Jessica,” Rep. Luis Gutierrez said tearfully at the end of the announcement, recalling that he gave her the name Washington after meeting then Mayor Harold Washington in 1987. “As we would say in 1988, Run, Jessie, Run.”