My name is Timmy Knudsen and I am thrilled to introduce myself as your new Alderman, and public servant, of the 43rd Ward. Lincoln Park, Old Town Triangle, and the Gold Coast are filled with Chicago’s most beautiful parks, historic streets, and opportunities for small businesses. It is full of families who want safe neighborhoods and the very best schools for their children. It is brimming with a hope, energy and possibility that inspires me every day.
I want to express my gratitude to Alderman Michele Smith for her leadership to the 43rd Ward since 2011. I know that I have big shoes to fill as I step into this new role. And part of her legacy that I benefit from is getting to work today with an incredible Ward staff — thank you Erik, Sheila, Maggie, Emma, Taylor and McKay! — who have gracefully managed the 43rd Ward Office without an Alderman for the past six weeks.
As an introduction, my story begins in my hometown of Wheaton, Illinois. My complete public school education took me to Champaign where I earned a bachelor’s and law degree from the University of Illinois. (Let’s go orange and blue!) The 43rd Ward has been home ever since — you can even find me on an old episode of HGTV’s House Hunters where I explore Lincoln Park’s beautiful architecture and parks (and give my best effort at not completely making a fool of myself).
I have worked throughout my career to bring private sector results into public service. As a lawyer and advocate, I’ve helped entrepreneurs grow their innovative businesses and foster investment, and assisted dozens of LGBTQ people seeking asylum. I’ve fostered collaborative community conversation around local developments as the Chairman of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals. And I’ve heard from 43rd Ward residents and advanced their priorities through my grassroots work for campaigns and causes near to my heart, such as door knocking for HB40 to protect reproductive freedom, and serving as Chairman of the 43rd Ward Judicial Review panel to champion merit-based endorsement of judicial candidates. As your alderman, I seek to be an advocate and consensus builder.
That starts with being a good listener. I’ve spent the last six weeks engaging with residents one on one to hear what’s on their mind related to the current state of our city, and that’s on top of the last eight years of working door to door in the 43rd Ward. Neighbors have told me that they want an alderman who will fight for public safety and public schools, foster open dialogue, and champion local community leaders and organizations through horizontal leadership every step of the way. As Alderman, I will work every day to answer that call here in the 43rd Ward and in City Council.
To introduce myself and immediately give back to those in need, the 43rd Ward Office will be holding an ongoing food and goods donation drive to help the 700+ migrants inhumanely bused to Chicago from Texas without notice. These are human beings being used as pawns in a cruel political stunt. As someone who has deep hands-on experience representing migrants and refugees seeking asylum, it is an issue that fires my soul. I know the 43rd Ward as a community with a welcoming and giving heart, and am looking forward to your help on this project (details below).
Serving the 43rd Ward is both an immense honor and a duty, and I am so energized to start getting to work for you.