Alderman profile: Michael Carroll

By SpencerRoush

From Peace Corps worker in Bangkok, Thailand to police officer, 32-year-old Michael Carroll is attempting to add one more job to his list of public service endeavors: running for Chicago City Council on a platform of reducing crime and boosting the ward’s economy.

Carroll is a Chicago native running in the 46th ward, which includes portions of Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Uptown and Lincoln Park. The incumbent Alderman Helen Shiller of the ward is stepping down after nearly 24 years. He is one of 12 candidates vying for the seat.

Running for alderman and raising $100,000 to run a campaign while continuing to work full-time as a police officer are not Carroll’s only priorities; he’s also getting married in May. However, Carroll said even with a busy schedule, he has always been a public servant and wants to continue that endeavor by running for office.

“It’s something that I feel so strongly that I could fix this community; fix the problems they have and help them make it a better community—that it’s worth not getting much sleep in the evening,” he said.

Even though Carroll has only $17,000 in his campaign budget and is facing a tight schedule, he said he’s confident in his abilities to stand out from opponents because of his police training, which no other candidate can offer.

Carroll said his skills could be well utilized in the North Side neighborhoods, such as Uptown, that are still home to gang activity and hindered by petty crimes, which drive business and jobs away. According to Carroll, he works as a police officer in high crime rate neighborhoods.

“As a candidate and as the alderman, I’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that your business is viable in this area,” Carroll said. “If that means taking care of the petty crimes that are happening that might not be taken care of by the police, I’m going to focus on that and say ‘… This business staying here is important for you as a police officer because this tax revenue is paying your salary.’’

Carroll said the 46th ward is dealing with crime and a recession. In fact, Carroll’s campaign office, 4700 N. Sheridan Road, is located in a building that used to house a golf shop but closed down.

The candidate also explained that getting handicap-accessible Red Line train stops in the ward would be beneficial to increase accessibility to local businesses in addition to reducing crime. Right now, the closest wheelchair-accessible El stop is at Addison, which is too far away from the 46th ward, he said.

Carroll said his biggest struggle is getting his message out to everyone in the ward that he will work to reduce crime, which should bring more foot traffic and businesses to the neighborhood. He said his campaign platform is something everyone can relate to.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or how much money you have in your pocket, the color of your skin, the culture that you come from,” Carroll said. “It has no bearing on everybody wanting safe streets. Everybody wants the same thing.”