Roberto Maldonado was appointed Alderman of the 26th Ward in July 2009, after serving as Commissioner of the 8th district for 15 years. He won election as Alderman in 2011 with the largest margin of victory of any Alderman on the City Council. Maldonado serves as Vice-Chair of the Committee on Health and Environmental Protection.
Maldonado has always believed that government exists to help poor, working class and middle class families who face discrimination and lack a voice in government and politics. His legislative agenda reflected this belief.
In 1994, Maldonado became the fourth Latino elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners since its inception in 1831. During his term he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the National Association of County Officials (“NACO”). Maldonado also served as past-President of the NACO affiliate, the National Association of County Aging Programs, advocating for federal and county senior health issues.
At 27, Maldonado arrived in Chicago to pursue his doctorate at Loyola University, after graduating from the prestigious University of Puerto Rico with a master’s degree in clinical psychology. While pursuing his studies, he also worked full-time as a psychologist in the Chicago Public Schools.
As a businessman for over 25 years, Maldonado opened People’s Choice Mortgage Corporation, the first Hispanic owned mortgage-banking firm in the Midwest, giving people from all walks of life the opportunity of home ownership. Maldonado now works as a full-time Alderman.
Maldonado’s political journey began in the early 1980’s during an historical turning point in politics—the election of Chicago’s first African-American Mayor, Harold Washington. His service in Washington’s administration and, later, his position as campaign manager for, then-Alderman, and future Congressman, Luis Gutierrez fueled Roberto’s passion for politics.
A Hands-on Alderman that Gets Results
When Maldonado took office in 2009, his weekly Ward Night was riddled with complaints of rampant gang activity, drug dealing on streets and corners, problem properties, and the ineffectiveness of CAPS meetings. Maldonado took action. He established monthly meetings where residents could address these concerns directly to Police Commanders. Within 24 months public safety complaints decreased by 90% in East Humboldt Park and 70% west of the park, as reported by local residents.
In addition, Maldonado pro-actively looks for problems by making house calls to the residents in the ward with his "Coming to Your Door" program. Thanks to Maldonado’s initiatives we enjoy a better quality of life than we did six years ago. But that’s not enough. Maldonado will not rest until all 26th Ward residents feel completely safe on the streets of their neighborhoods and at home.
Creating Better Education Opportunities For Our Children
When Maldonado first took office in 2009, there wasn’t a single Level 1 public school in the 26th Ward. Maldonado found this unacceptable. By working diligently with CPS, six out of eleven elementary schools in our ward achieved a Level 1 rating by 2013.
Maldonado didn’t stop there. For the first time ever, two new prestigious high schools opened in the 26th Ward during his tenure.
- Marine Leadership Institute – a school where 94% of graduates are admitted to 4-year colleges and universities.
- Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) – the only public performing arts school in the entire City.
As a CPS parent, Maldonado will not settle until all 26th Ward schools achieve Level 1 ratings and offer a safe and conducive learning environment.
Roberto lives with his three children, Rene, Roberto, Jr., and Raquel in Humboldt Park. Rene and Roberto, Jr. attend public school in the area. They all attend Maternity BVM Catholic Church.
Hear Roberto tell his story on CANTV: