CHICAGO (August 29, 2013) — Community organizer Will Guzzardi, who came within a few dozen votes of beating the powerful Berrios political machine in 2012, announced Thursday that he is again seeking the Democratic nomination for State Representative in Illinois’ 39th District—and this time, he plans to finish the job. Guzzardi will again challenge six-term incumbent Rep. Toni Berrios, daughter of County Assessor and County Democratic Party chairman Joe Berrios, in the March primary, capitalizing on his significant grassroots volunteer operation.
“Two years ago, we built a movement in this community to fight for quality public schools, a strong economy and independent, accountable leadership,” Guzzardi said. “The movement has only grown stronger since that time. Our neighbors and community leaders are ready to make real change happen in 2014.”
After mobilizing hundreds of volunteers, raising more than $100,000 from grassroots supporters, and earning endorsements from the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Teachers Union, the Illinois Education Association and Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), among others, Guzzardi was within 75 votes on Election Night in 2012, and the race remained too close to call for weeks. His 49.2% of the vote total surprised many observers by posing such a formidable threat to the entrenched Machine interests backing Berrios.
Since that time, Guzzardi has been an active organizer in his community. He worked closely for months with parents, teachers, and LSC members to help save Logan Square’s Brentano Elementary from closure. He volunteered with Chicago Votes, a non-partisan voting-rights nonprofit, playing an important role in their successful battle for online voter registration in Illinois. And he has worked for an elected school board in Chicago, helping get an advisory referendum on the ballot in 327 of Chicago’s electoral precincts. That measure passed with 87% of the vote in November 2012.
“This coming election is about more than just me and Rep. Berrios,” Guzzardi explained. “It’s about a city-wide movement whose time has come, a movement of hard-working tax-paying people who are fed up with the entrenched special interests and the corrupt Machine politics that are dragging down our state. Our schools are in crisis, our budget is in shambles, and people across this city are clamoring for a new kind of leadership to address these serious concerns and get rid of the same old pay-to-play politics that has simply failed to do so.
“In this election, I intend to prove that no legislator is invulnerable — that no Machine is powerful enough to protect a lawmaker who ignores the needs of their constituents.”
A former Huffington Post Chicago reporter and University of Chicago communications strategist, Guzzardi begins this campaign with strong name recognition and favorability across the community as well as support from influential community leaders and organizations. He plans to build a grassroots campaign, knocking on thousands of doors and talking to voters alongside a powerful volunteer army. The campaign will focus on issues of improving public education, keeping communities safe, and fixing the state’s economy.
For more information, visitwww.willguzzardi.com. To arrange an interview with Guzzardi, call 773-270-1382.