James on the Issues

Read James' personal letter to 45th ward neighbors (pdf)


As an owner of a small business, I understand the challenges local businesses face. In much of the 45th ward development has stagnated.

When the current alderman blocked historic investments in a mixed-use senior facility, I organized with neighbors to move this important project forward. Our successful efforts helped create hundreds of jobs and will generate vital revenue. I will work with all stakeholders to revitalize our neighborhoods throughout the ward by creating accessible and transparent community advisory councils so that residents and business owners have an authentic voice in local developments.


As a recent victim of an attempted armed robbery, I know we are not doing enough to keep our residents safe. We must increase our public safety investments and collaborate with stakeholders to change our approach to community safety. Too often, officers are responding to school lunchroom arguments, substance abuse issues and other non-violent, non-life-threatening calls. As Alderman, I will increase investments into mental health first responders and violence interrupters, so our officers can stay focused on violent and organized crime. To combat the increase in suicide and mental health crises among our officers, I will advocate for more training and mental health support for those who serve.


Residents want a leader who will move beyond the divisiveness of the past. Every resident, regardless of their background, deserves fair treatment and equitable access to city services. I will bring professionalism to the aldermanic office and support efforts to increase the Inspector General’s oversight of the City Council to enhance protections for our residents. I also support an independent city council by advocating for the enforcement of Rule 36, so City Council selects committee chairs, not the mayor.


Every child deserves a quality local school with arts, music, and athletic programming. As Vice President of the PTA at my daughter’s school, I’ve worked with community members to raise funds for technology and enrichment programs. As Alderman, I will fight for every school to have nurses, mental health specialists, and libraries with librarians. I will oppose school closings and advocate to fully fund public schools to provide the support our students need to be successful.


Our alderman needs to improve access to housing, including stabilizing housing costs for renters and homeowners alike. I will work with residents, community groups, and developers to bring thoughtful development that will stimulate economic activity and increase accessible housing. I will also work to ensure homeowners have access to property tax relief to support homeownership in our community. Increasing the number of homes and thriving businesses grows our community while making housing more affordable for our long-term residents.


Home and small business owners struggle to make ends meet because we are too reliant on regressive taxes, and lawmakers resort to property tax increases to balance government budgets. We need to revisit our revenue streams and reform our tax systems, so working families are not unfairly carrying the tax burden. I support exploring bonds as a tool to fully fund our pension obligations and reduce our reliance on property taxes.