Janice Cho

Who’s Running for Fourth Ward Alderman?

The Maroon profiles the candidates running for Fourth Ward alderman in the 2023 Chicago municipal elections.

Seven candidates are running for the position of Fourth Ward alderman in the 2023 Chicago elections, which will take place on February 28. The elected candidate will replace Sophia King, whose mayoral campaign will prevent her from returning to her aldermanic position, which she has held since 2016.

The Fourth Ward represents South Side lakefront neighborhoods such as Hyde Park, Oakland, Kenwood, and Bronzeville. If no aldermanic candidate receives at least 50 percent of the votes in the February 28 election, the two candidates with the highest number of votes will face off in a run-off election on April 4.

Helen West

West is a retired South Side educator and the holder of two master’s degrees and a doctorate. Prior to working as a computer science teacher, West held several management positions at Lucent Technologies. According to her website, West was introduced to the local political scene through her family, as her father was the first Black precinct captain of the 24th Ward. For her doctoral thesis, West researched the impacts of STEM programming on Black and Hispanic students, opportunities she plans to expand upon if elected. Like many other candidates for the Fourth Ward, West emphasizes proactive approaches to crime in her campaign and housing reform.

Tracey Bey

Bey is running for the seat for a second time after losing to former alderman Will Burns in 2015. Bey is currently the director of operations for Ex-Cons for Community and Social Change, an organization that aims to “provide dedicated community servants trained to change the dynamic of trauma and violence in our communities.” In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Bey argued that public safety is the most pressing issue for the Fourth Ward and proposed having “community appointed liaisons” work with the city on programs to prevent violence. According to the Hyde Park Herald, Bey supports the idea of increasing police presence in the ward and emphasized the importance of having police officers foster personal relationships with the community members they serve.

Lamont Robinson

Robinson has been a state representative in the Illinois General Assembly since 2019 and is the body’s first out gay Black member. In 2021, he helped acquire state funds for the construction of a South Side medical clinic and community center for LGBTQ+ individuals operated by Howard Brown Health. If elected, Robinson plans to tackle the issue of crime through community involvement and make schools in the Fourth Ward more equitable.

Khari Humphries

Humphries is involved in local politics through his leadership roles in organizations such as the Ellis Park Advisory Council, where he coordinates youth employment programs and community events, and the Community Builders, a Bronzeville housing nonprofit where he acts as senior manager of community life. In 2018, Humphries was accepted into UChicago’s six-month Civic Leadership Academy, a development program for “high-potential” Chicago-area leaders at nonprofits or in local government. Within the City of Chicago, Humphries served as the Senior Director of Youth Policy, Education, and Human Resources under Mayor Lori Lightfoot from February to October 2022, a role through which he “launched citywide initiatives designed to increase safety throughout the city.” In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Humphries stated that public safety was the biggest issue in the Fourth Ward.

Ebony Lucas

This is Lucas’s third attempt at securing the Fourth Ward seat after she lost to King in 2017 and 2019. Lucas is currently a real estate attorney at the Closing Firm. According to Lucas’s website, among her top concerns are improving Chicago neighborhoods and “expanding [city] ordinances” to aid Chicago’s unhoused population. Lucas also hopes to prioritize mental health care for Chicago residents as alderman and emphasize resident collaboration, creating a community-accessible aldermanic office and supporting resident-driven initiatives and programming.

Prentice Butler

Butler, a UChicago alum (B.A. ’02, A.M. ’20), is currently the chief of staff for incumbent alderman King. Butler’s top priorities, according to his website, are “quality within economic development, quality schools, public safety and government transparency.” In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Butler expressed support for crime prevention programs, workforce development programs, and increased state investment in public schools.

Paul Pearson

Pearson was originally set to appear on the ballot but was struck January 16 after a challenge filed by Robinson’s campaign proved that he had failed to meet the minimum of 473 valid signatures. He is continuing his campaign as a registered write-in candidate. Pearson is an adjunct faculty member at Chicago State University and is expected to receive a doctoral degree in higher education this spring. His website, which is not functional at the time of publication, previously stated that his interests lie in improving Chicago education so that it can “reduce crime and poverty in the inner city.”

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