Timmy Knudsen, 43rd Ward alderman, talked about his civic role and the upcoming runoff election at a Morning Ex for 5th–12th grades this week. Parker’s Democrats Club brought Knudsen to campus, and club member, junior Ben Kagan, introduced the alderman by describing his background and unique position that lends itself perfectly to a Chicago civics lesson.
Due to the recent retirement of former alderman Michelle Smith, Mayor Lightfoot appointed Knudsen to take over the role prior to the recent election. During that election, Knudsen finished first in his field, but was unable to secure more than 50% of the vote, so he now faces a runoff election to continue his role for a full term.
Knudsen is the first LGBTQ alderman for the 43rd Ward and, at 32 years old, is currently the youngest member of Chicago’s City Council. Knudsen talked about the strength of being young, as he is both a very active and vocal alderman. He commended Parker students for being active through their participation as local election judges and also offered advice.
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because of your age,” he said. “Volunteer in what you’re passionate about, and challenge your belief systems.”
Knudsen then opened the floor, and students and staff asked a range of questions, from how busy his schedule is to how he plans to improve bike safety. Learning about Chicago politics directly from an elected official engages Parker students to be active and informed citizens and encourages them to use their voice—and their vote!—to effect change.