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Meet Joliet City Council Candidate: Cesar Guerrero – Patch.com

Meet Joliet City Council Candidate: Cesar Guerrero – Patch.com

JOLIET, IL — Cesar Guerrero, a member of the Legal Aid at Joliet’s Spanish Community Center on the city’s east side, is trying to win elected office on the Joliet City Council in the April 6 races. Guerrreo is one of 12 candidates vying for the three open at-large seats on the Joliet City Council

JOLIET, IL — Cesar Guerrero, a member of the Legal Aid at Joliet’s Spanish Community Center on the city’s east side, is trying to win elected office on the Joliet City Council in the April 6 races. Guerrreo is one of 12 candidates vying for the three open at-large seats on the Joliet City Council in the April 6 elections.

Guerrero recently filled out the Joliet Patch candidate survey, and his answers can be found below:

NAME: Cesar Guerrero

Age (as of Election Day): 25

Office Sought: city council

Does anyone in your family work in politics or government? No

Education: Joliet West HS, Joliet Junior College

Occupation: Legal Aid at the Spanish Community Center

Campaign website: www.electcesarguerrero.com

Previous or Current Elected or Appointed Office: N/A

The single most pressing issue facing our (board, district, etc.) is _______, and this is what I intend to do about it.

The most pressing issue facing Joliet right now is the City Council’s decision to finance a fresh water pipeline to Chicago by raising the cost of water to an average of at least $138/month per household – making it unaffordable for Joliet’s working families.

Even before the vote was passed, my campaign called for a cap to be placed on the price of water to residences and small businesses, for a ban on residential water shutoffs, and for the implementation of tiered water pricing to make sure heavy industry pays its fair share, and helps keep clean water affordable to every working family in Joliet and across the region.

Do you support Black Lives Matter and what are your thoughts on the demonstrations held since the death of George Floyd and the shooting of Jacob Blake?

Last summer, when George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s murders sparked protests across the country, I felt moved to stand in solidarity with neighbors I’d never met before to call for justice nationally and here at home.

I stood at the corner of Larkin and Jefferson for weeks and was horrified when I saw our own mayor attack peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters as they demonstrated against exactly the kind of state violence they were out protesting against. It’s no surprise that, even after two deaths in police custody this year, JPD still refuses to take the most basic steps toward police accountability and community safety by refusing to install dash cams in every patrol car and mandate all officers be outfitted with body cams.

Such common sense reforms are just the first step. As long as racial inequity is a reality I will continue to uplift the truth that all lives can’t matter until black lives matter and will stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and other racial and social justice organizations that advance the cause of justice and peace in our city and country.

Do you think the current board has done enough to support racial equality, and if not, what specifically should be done to do so?

Just recently, Councilwoman Quillman punted on a question of increasing access to City Council meetings for Spanish speaking residents of Joliet. Instead of recommending meaningful reforms, she suggested that residents should work on “learning English” after herself admitting that she wasn’t able to learn Spanish despite trying. A lack of racial equity is not only a problem for the Latinx community, but for every minority community in Joliet as we are consistently left out of community programs and are the last to receive community resources. As City Councilor I will work for ALL of Joliet and will do my best to advance equitable access to critical resources irrespective of race, gender, or creed.

What are your thoughts on the national and local coronavirus response? Do you favor measures such as limiting operation of non-essential businesses and restricting indoor/outdoor dining? And do you favor a local mask mandate?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to families, communities and businesses and we need a unified response to bring an end to this terrible pandemic. I support mask mandates, but believe we need to do more to support our small businesses who have been struggling to stay open through the last year. While on the campaign trail I have heard complaints from small business owners that the city is either unresponsive or worse, a bad partner when it comes to supporting our small businesses. If elected, I will be accessible to small businesses and will work together in establishing protocols that keep customers safe, while keeping businesses open.

Part of that means bringing businesses back to full capacity as soon as possible through an effective vaccination plan for Joliet. Working at one of the cities’ social service agencies, I know that some of the hardest hit residents in terms of infections have been our black and brown communities. I also know that there is widespread hesitance and skepticism toward vaccinations across our community that will hamper efforts to get Joliet fully vaccinated. As an elected official I will be a leader in facilitating a vaccination plan that helps end the pandemic locally and that gets our businesses reopened and at full capacity as soon as possible.

What are your thoughts on the state and local coronavirus vaccine distribution, and how do you think local governments should work together to handle vaccine rollout?

I feel that a great amount of progress has been made over the last several weeks especially as more and more people are finally getting access to the COVID-19 vaccine. I am also encouraged that acceptance and willingness to take the vaccine is also increasing across the board. I believe that we will reach the supply needed in the coming weeks to make the vaccine available to all adults who want it, hopefully by May 1st. While there is much work to be done, I believe the federal and state governments are increasing their effectiveness when it comes to vaccination of population.

That said, I would like to see our city and county improve their response, which is why I support community organizations like the Southwest Suburban Immigrant Project’s demand for an equity manager at the Will County Department of Public Health.

I believe our city and county should have closer collaboration with our local Community Based Organizations. As someone who has worked at our local non-profits I have seen the important role they play when it comes to supporting those affected by the pandemic and subsequent economic downturn. They have been working overtime giving away free food and PPE, testing people and hosting vaccination sites for our community. This is why I was so disappointed by the recent news that the Will County Public Health Department did not take advantage of extra funding available to help our communities in crisis from the pandemic. Local governments have an important role to play in bringing an end to the pandemic and I will have a collaborative approach when it comes to working with non for profits, businesses and other levels of government.

What are the critical differences between you and the other candidates seeking this post?

While some candidates run campaigns on vague promises of “stability” and “new businesses” this campaign is centered on the concrete challenges that face Joliet residents every day. Unlike other campaigns, mine is focused on the threat to our community posed by skyrocketing water prices, the irresponsible Northpoint development, unaccountable policing, a lack of representation for Joliet’s Latinx community, and a lack of basic community staples, like a local grocery store.

I plan to address each of these issues by bringing the community to the table. If elected, I will bring city hall into the community and encourage participation in the democratic process through regular town halls across Joliet, and I’ll establish local community councils to help set a popular legislative agenda.

If you are a challenger, in what way has the current board or officeholder failed the community (or district or constituency)

As a longtime incumbent, Councilwoman Jan Quillman has spent her time embroiled in controversies, while failing to represent the needs of her constituents. When asked what could be done to increase accessibility of government to Joliet’s sizable Spanish speaking community, she refused responsibility for it and insisted that instead, community members should work harder to learn English. She recently voted to increase water prices to $138/month for our working families and continues to insist this isn’t an urgent issue, despite prices set to increase by 10 percent this year already. She has pledged not to allow any further warehouse development, but is backing Northpoint, the largest single warehouse development in state history.

Councilwoman Quillman has failed Joliet by keeping the community at arms length, and seemingly forgetting that she represents all the people of Joliet, not just the special interests.

Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.

Beyond a guarantee of universally accessible clean and affordable water and a strong stand AGAINST Northpoint, this campaign believes that we can get Joliet back on its feet by working with state and federal partners such as State Rep Avelar, State Sen Connor, and US Reps “Chuy” Garcia and Marie Newman (all of whom have endorsed our campaign) to create large-scale infrastructure projects that will put Joliet to work. Building a brighter future for Joliet also means investing in our frontline healthcare workers and teachers while creating systems of accountability for our elected officials and other public servants.

Folks can learn more at https://www.electcesarguerrero…

What accomplishments in your past would you cite as evidence you can handle this job?

It took the current City Council, with all of its resources, 2 years to collect 100 public comments on the issue of our city literally running out of water within the decade. In just a handful of weeks, my campaign has secured he support of over 1,000 residents for the Safe and Affordable Water Pledge (including the support of several of my fellow candidates).

This campaign is evidence of my intent and ability to lead on the issues, while bringing the community to the table. Beyond that, I have worked as a legal assistant at the Spanish Community Center, providing community outreach and social services to Joliet residents. Before that, I worked my way up on the factory floor to pay off my student loans. I am no stranger to hard work or doing what’s necessary to get Joliet families the resources they need and that’s exactly the ethos I’d bring to City Hall.

The Joliet Water pledge can be found: at https://www.electcesarguerrero…

If you win this position, what accomplishment would make your term in office as a success?

If we can guarantee universal access to affordable water and stop the Northpoint development from steamrolling our community, that would be a real success.

Why should voters trust you?

Voters should trust me because I am running the most inclusive campaign in Joliet and I know the only way we’ll get anything done is together. I am the only candidate pledging to make sure the community has a real seat at the table so folks won’t have to “wait and see” with me because they’ll be right there at the table helping inform my agenda every step of the way. Unlike other candidates, I’m not asking you to trust my judgement and let me know how I did in four years. I’m asking each and every Joliet voter to work with me to help make our city the best it can be every day.

What are your views on fiscal policy, government spending and the use of taxpayer dollars in the office you are seeking?

Joliet is the county seat for Will County, home to warehouses that 3 percent of our country’s GDP runs through every day. Put another way, we see the wealth of nations drive down our roads every day and yet our infrastructure is crumbling and our wages are stagnant. That’s why I reject the politics of austerity and believe that we can provide a rich community life and opportunities for individual success if we work with our partners in the state and federal government, our neighboring municipalities, and our friends in labor to make sure the global shipping industry pays its fair share and provides the quality jobs that folks can raise a family on. Government spending priorities should meet the needs of the people, not focus on handouts for the world’s wealthiest companies.

Is there any reason you would not serve your full term of office, other than those of health or family?


The best advice ever shared with me was:

If the government isn’t working for the people; it’s up to the people to change our government.
What else would you like voters to know about yourself and your positions?
I love my city and I promise I’ll get up every day ready to fight for it. That means saying no to greedy developers and saying yes to inclusive community planning that makes Joliet a better place to raise a family and age in place.

One last thing: Cesar Guerrero’s campaign notified Joliet Patch on Saturday that he has received the following political endorsements in his race for Joliet City Council:

  • Congresswoman Marie Newman
  • Congressman Chuy Garcia
  • The Illinois Nurses Association
  • State Senator John Connor
  • State Rep Dagmara “Dee” Avelar
  • Stop Northpoint
  • The Sunrise Movement
  • The Sierra Club
  • Bishop Evans
  • Commissioner Herb Brooks
  • Workers United
  • Our Revolution
  • The Will County Progressives

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