Drewone Goldsmith speaks at the 24th Ward candidate forum at Collins Academy High School on Wednesday, Feb. 1. The event was sponsored by the Chicago west side NAACP Branch and moderated by Remel Terry, first vice president. | Shanel Romain

Over 100 people gathered inside Collins Academy High School, 1313 S. Sacramento Blvd., on Feb. 1 to see seven of the eight candidates running for 24th Ward alderperson talk about local issues including education and business development. 

Candidates Luther Woodruff, Edward Ward, Traci Treasure Johnson, Drewone Goldsmith, Vetress Boyce and Creative Johnson all had criticisms for incumbent Ald. Monique Scott. Candidate Larry Nelson was not in attendance at the forum, which the Chicago Westside Branch NAACP hosted. 

One of the major issues the candidates addressed was access to information, an area they said has been lacking during Ald. Scott’s time in office. 

“The system does not seem to be working,” said Goldsmith, a veteran Chicago firefighter and the founder of Chicago’s Historic Route 66 Classic Car Show. 

“Many individuals do not have the information along with precinct captains. We need our block clubs back. We need individuals talking to their neighbors, one on one. Let them know what’s going down the pipe. I’ve actually started doing that.” 

“We need to make sure the information gets out,” said Ward, who has interned for Alds. Walter Burnett (27th) and Harry Osterman (48th), and volunteered with the Coalition for the Homeless. “Let’s show up at doors making sure we’re reaching out to the community.” 

Johnson, a small business owner who unsuccessfully ran for alderperson in the 24th Ward in 2019, said she agrees that precinct captains should be brought back to the 24th Ward so that they can help improve communication between residents and the alderperson’s office. 

Creative Scott, the owner of Creative Salon and Start to Finish, touted his past as a promoter and said that experience proves “I know how to bring people out.” 

Ald. Scott was appointed last year to the position that her brother, former 24th Ward Ald. Michael Scott, had before resigning. Scott, who worked as a park supervisor for the Chicago Park District before her appointment, defended her record on communication while an alderperson. 

“Many people in this audience know that if you call the alderman’s office, nine times out of 10, I’m going to answer the phone,” Scott said. “I work for you all.” 

Other candidates talked about issues important to their campaigns. Boyce and Woodruff emphasized the importance of community. 

 Boyce, the president and CEO of Boyce Enterprise, a medical supplier, emphasized funding mental health facilities and after school programming for young people. This is her third time running for the alderperson seat. 

“How do we build those [closed] schools to utilize for single parents that are struggling and need a place to live? Why can’t we use them for that?” she said. 

Woodruff, who works for the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation and is a church musician, said he’s running “because our community is hurting. I’ve lived in this community for 42 years and live on the same block that I grew up on … If you look around, the number one issue is economics and we have to fix that. We can fix that.”