The City Council Latino Caucus is opening its tent to non-Latino aldermen who represent --- or soon might represent --- wards with sizable Hispanic populations.
The eight-member group will extend invitations to seven more aldermen who are not themselves Latinos, Ald. Daniel Solis, 25th, the Latino Caucus chairman, said today.
The contentious ward remap fight that that saw the Latino Caucus try to increase the number of Latino-majority wards in recognition of Hispanic population gains in Chicago also helped convince caucus members they could strengthen their position by increasing their membership, Solis said.
"I don't think we were very smart. We had blinders on," Solis said of the caucus' prior reluctance to invite non-Hispanics to join.
Several wards with solid Hispanic majorities have repeatedly elected non-Hispanic aldermen, including City Council power brokers Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, and Ald. Richard Mell, 33rd.
Ald. Nicholas Sposato, 36th, represents a Northwest Side ward that's about one-third Latino now, but will become about two-thirds Latino in 2015 under the remap. Sposato said he has been asking the Latino Caucus to join since shortly after his election last spring.
"I look forward to it," Sposato said. "This will help me do a better job of understanding the concerns of my constituents."