Maggie O’Keefe is working to build a unified 40th Ward.
Like many Americans, the 2016 election was a call-to-action for Maggie. Low voter turnouts in marginalized communities motivated her to become a deputy voter registrar. By the end of 2017, Maggie deputized over 500 voters in Cook County, organized voter drives at over three dozen high schools, street festivals and events, and together they registered thousands of new voters in the Chicagoland area – all in one year.
As a small business owner, Maggie knows what it takes to tackle problems and achieve resolutions: work with others, listen to all perspectives and follow through to produce results. And that’s what she believes the 40th Ward needs: a leader who truly listens and responds to her fellow neighbors.
Maggie moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College Chicago in 2007. When she’s not working for small businesses, progressive candidates or organizing voter events, she can be seen around Chicago performing as the front woman in a band and training for the Chicago Sprint Triathlon. She lives with her better half, Adam, in the Lincoln Square neighborhood.
Stances / Issues
Live, Work, Enjoy - In the 40th Ward
Chicago’s Northside is full of great neighborhoods - yet livability has stagnated due to lack of new businesses, entertainment options, and affordable housing. Together, we can all enjoy our ward and share it with our neighbors who live in and outside of it!
I am going door-to-door in the 40th Ward taking a ward-wide survey of the issues people want addressed and the development they would like to see. Our goal is to create a 40th Ward Smart Development Roadmap that will help us determine the infrastructure and commercial needs throughout our community. To begin, this roadmap will work to:
Support small business development through Community Zoning Reform
Encourage new transit-oriented developments and require developers to abide by the Affordable Requirements Ordinance, which requires that developers provide 10% of their units at affordable prices
Establish 40th Ward participatory budgeting
Immediately determine high-risk and high-need infrastructure repairs, including roads and alleys that have not seen new asphalt within the last decade
Preventing Crime through Community Building
As Northside residents, we live in some of the safest neighborhoods in Chicago. In a time of decreasing budgets and shifting police schedules, my goal is to build upon our existing network of neighbors, to connect us together in positive ways that avoids profiling and makes sure we have each other’s backs in our city.
Produce community-led events to promote an active neighborhood
Connect the existing network of involved neighbors (including Facebook pages and social media groups) within a larger 40th Ward digital public safety network
Develop a weekly public safety bulletin, as well as establish regular town halls and community calls for neighbors to meet with their alderman
Public School & Education
Chicagoans are losing faith in our public institutions because not all students are treated equally. Our current alderman is a member of the Education Committee in City Council yet has done little to address these long-standing issues. Each child in Chicago Public Schools deserves equitable funding, no matter where they live.
Establish a 40th Ward moratorium on new charter schools or magnet schools that crowd out or take from existing public school options
Expand Universal Pre-K and Kindergarten access in Chicago to provide high quality, full-day school to all parents and children no matter where they live
Seek grants and partner with new non-profits to boost after-school programming and safe havens for students
Work with City Council and state legislators to establish an elected Chicago Public Schools board
Sustainable Living Solutions
The 40th Ward contains stunning natural resources – the Chicago Riverfront, bountiful park space, and tree-lined streets. But what are we doing together to protect these resources and encourage sustainable living? Right now, only 10% of Chicago’s recycling is actually being recycled. Let’s be the ward that people look to when it comes to sustainable living solutions.
Adopt Smart City Development practices to maximize environmental efficiency and promote solar options throughout the neighborhood
Work with a coalition of aldermen and non-profit organizations to reform the Recycling program in City Hall
Reinforce the good work from existing park advisory councils and establish new ones to ensure we are doing all we can to protect these public spaces
Promote and support composting and vertical gardens to minimize waste
Conserve and protect our biggest natural resources: Lake Michigan and the Chicago River