New alderman appointed in West Chicago

A new alderman has been appointed to the West Chicago city council, filling a spot that was vacant for two weeks.

The council approved the appointment of George L. Garcia last week to serve the remainder of a 2-year term representing Ward 6. He replaces Mark Edwalds, who resigned after the Sept. 5 council meeting.

Edwalds was appointed to the council in 2012 to finish the remainder of a vacated 4-year term. He was elected to a 2-year term in 2015 after running unopposed and was set to serve through April 2017. He cited family issues and regular travel as reasons for his resignation.

Edwalds said his time on the council was filled with productive discussions and debates and he felt everyone worked together to get things accomplished.

Ward 6 covers the most southern part of the city, including some areas just east of Manville Oaks Park, and areas north and south of Roosevelt Road between Bishop Street and Price Crossing Road. It is also represented by Alderwoman Rebecca Stout.

Garcia is a native of Cuba who came to Chicago in 1961. He retired in February after a long career in management, mostly at Suncast Corp. in Batavia.

Two years ago, Garcia and his wife of 43 years moved to West Chicago from Naperville, when they decided to downsize after becoming empty-nesters.

"I told my wife, is the community going to be any better by us having lived here? I decided that I was going to get involved," Garcia said.

Earlier this year, Garcia attended a Coffee With the Mayor event and has since developed a relationship with Mayor Ruben Pineda. He said Pineda reached out to him after Edwalds resigned and asked if he would be interested in the position. Garcia said yes and already has picked up the necessary papers to be on the spring ballot.

"The city has a strategic plan and I've read it over about three times, and it's fantastic. I would love to be part of the implementation process of the plan," he said.

Garcia's hobbies include working out and building scale-model aircraft. He has never held a government position but said he is excited to take on the role and believes his immigrant background and fluency in Spanish will be helpful.

"The Mexican-American community has the most incredible work ethic. They really like working and they're very focused on their families," he said.

Many, however, don't get involved in politics.

"The politics are different down in Mexico," he said. "We're trying to get them more involved, to participate in the city government."

Mark Edwalds resigned from the West Chicago City Council after serving for four years. Courtesy of West Chicago
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