Rossana Rodríguez
Member of the Chicago City Council
from the 33rd ward
Assumed office
May 20, 2019
Preceded byDeb Mell
Personal details
Born (1978-11-13) November 13, 1978 (age 43)
Humacao, Puerto Rico, U.S.
Political partyIndependent
EducationUniversity of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras (BA)
University of Manchester (MA)
WebsiteCampaign website

Rossana Rodríguez Sanchez (born November 13, 1978) is a Chicago politician and community organizer. She is the alderwoman of Chicago's 33rd ward, having taken office as a member of the Chicago City Council in May 2019. She won election to that office after defeating incumbent Deb Mell in the 2019 Chicago aldermanic elections.[1] She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.[2]

Early life, education, and career

Rodriguez-Sanchez was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico in 1978. Her father was a community organizer, and Rodriguez-Sanchez cites attending a protest against the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station's practice of diverting water from her community as one of her earliest moments of political consciousness.[3] She received a Bachelor’s in Theater Education from the University of Puerto Rico at Río Piedras in 2003, as well as a Master’s in Applied Theater from the University of Manchester in 2007.[4]

Rodriguez-Sanchez worked as a drama teacher in Puerto Rico before austerity cuts to public education on the island led her to move to Albany Park, Chicago and accept the position of Resident Director of the Albany Park Theater Project. While working with APTP to create community theater that reflected the daily struggles of people in working-class, largely immigrant community, Rodriguez-Sanchez became involved with the Immigrant Youth Justice League, an organization led by undocumented youth to combat deportations.[3]

Chicago City Council

2019 campaign

After announcing her intention to run for 33rd Ward Alderman in May 2018, Rodriguez-Sanchez soon drew comparisons to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a fellow Democratic Socialists of America member of Puerto Rican heritage who won a U.S. House Democratic primary election in June 2018 as a heavy underdog.[5] Rodriguez-Sanchez placed first in the February 26, 2019 general election with 42.1% of the vote, advancing to a head-to-head runoff with the incumbent Deb Mell.[6] She then won the April 2, 2019 runoff election by 13 votes, ending nearly 44 years of Mell family control of the 33rd Ward seat.[1]

Aldermanic career

Rodriguez Sanchez assumed office as a member of Chicago City Council on May 20, 2019, and is a member of the Socialist, Progressive Reform, and Latino Caucuses.

In July 2019, in response to President Donald Trump's threats of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids against undocumented immigrants in major U.S. cites, the offices of Rodriguez Sanchez and her colleague Carlos Ramirez-Rosa organized neighborhood defense brigades to patrol Albany Park in order to monitor ICE activity and disseminate know-your-rights information.[7]

In November 2019, Rodriguez Sanchez was one of eleven aldermen to vote against Mayor Lori Lightfoot's first budget.[8] She joined all five other members of the Socialist Caucus in signing a letter to Lightfoot which criticized her budget for "an over-reliance on property taxes" and "regressive funding models" that are "burdensome to our working-class citizens, while giving the wealthy and large corporations a pass."[9]

Electoral history

Chicago 33rd Ward Aldermanic election, 2019: General[10]
Party Candidate Votes %
Nonpartisan Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez 4,567 42.0
Nonpartisan Deborah L. Mell (incumbent) 4,497 41.4
Nonpartisan Katie Sieracki 1,812 16.7
Total votes 10,876 100
Chicago 33rd Ward Aldermanic election, 2019: Runoff[11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Independent Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez 5,754 50.06
Independent Deborah L. Mell 5,741 49.94
Total votes 11,495 100.00

See also


  1. ^ a b "Rossana Rodríguez-Sánchez Ousts Ald. Deb Mell By Just 13 Votes As Final 33rd Ward Count Comes In". Block Club Chicago. Archived from the original on 2019-04-17. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  2. ^ "Socialists Surge to Victories in Chicago City Council". CBS Chicago. 2019-04-03.
  3. ^ a b ""We Have a Right to the Resources That We Create"". Jacobin. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  4. ^ "33rd Ward candidate for alderman: Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  5. ^ "Is a Puerto Rican native running for Chicago alderman the next Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  6. ^ "33rd Ward Election: Can the Mell Dynasty Survive a Democratic Socialist?". NBC Chicago. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  7. ^ Villagomez, Jessica (15 July 2019). "As neighborhood brigades patrol the streets, no signs of ICE raids in Chicago". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  8. ^ Spielman, Fran (26 November 2019). "City Council approves Lightfoot's $11.6 billion budget — with 11 'no' votes". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  9. ^ Bremer, Shelby (26 November 2019). "Chicago City Council Passes Lightfoot's Budget Proposal". NBC Chicago. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  10. ^[bare URL PDF]
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-04-03. Retrieved 2019-04-17.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)