Alderman Danny Solis' Biography
President Pro Tempore
Alderman Daniel "Danny" Solis brings vision, leadership, and action to the diverse 25th Ward community. His impressive 30-year history of dedicated service to his community is evidence of his commitment to neighborhood improvement. His continual work within today's neighborhoods builds upon past accomplishments while laying a foundation of growth and development for future generations of the 25th Ward residents.
As leader of the 25th Ward, Solis has implemented an aggressive plan for job creation and retention, while simultaneously enhancing and promoting the wealth of institutional resources already established within the ward. Solis' primary objective has been in making the 25th Ward attractive and affordable for industrial relocation, creating a new source of employment for local residents. Making use of the over 1,000 acre industrial corridor, Solis has successfully created a Tax Increment Financing District and has already secured such projects as the International Produce Market and American Linen Company, which promise to bring several hundred jobs as well as a minimum of $60 million in investment into the community. Other projects are currently being planned.
However, this priority is not to be overshadowed by Solis' intense focus on physical improvements throughout the ward. Through beautification projects, infrastructure repairs, and institutional expansion, Solis has not only capitalized on the positive aspects of the various constituents within the ward, but has not capitalized on the positive aspects of the various constituents within the ward, but has nurtured its development into major hubs of cultural activity at the City of Chicago. Utilizing the communities' assets of immigration tradition, Solis has promoted the 25th Ward as primary host to Chinese, Italian and Mexican culture.
Examples of Solis' commitment to these communities can be witnessed as one travels the ward from Plaza Tenochtitlan, the new Dvorak Park and the expanded Mexican Fine Arts Museum at the heart of the Mexican Pilsen community to the newly created Ping Tong Park, an expanded housing development, and an improved Archer Courts Senior Housing Development within Chinatown, to the streetscaping of The Heart of Chicago, highlighting the best of Italian cuisine through its fine restaurants making each a premier stop for visitors and residents alike. Nor all improvements Solis has made are as dramatic; nevertheless, they too have inspired pride in community. Most of the capital improvements that have been made to the 25th Ward include miles of street and alley repaving, reconstruction of vaulted sidewalks, cul-de-sac development as well as increased street lighting. Solis has been at the forefront of positive change for the 25th Ward.
As a citywide leader, Solis has also emerged as a key actor in Chicago's political landscape, representing the area's burgeoning Latino community. A staunch ally of the former Mayor, in 2001, Solis was appointed President Pro Tempore of the City Council, overseeing council proceedings in the Mayor's absence. Of course, his role as a citywide leader is not new to Solis. In fact, it is his wealth of experience and history in community development that has facilitated Solis' handling of issues important to communities beyond the 25th Ward boundaries.
Danny Solis knows his community. He has served in various positions beginning his public service career as a dedicated teacher. Solis was also founder and Executive Director of Latino Youth Alternative High School and became the first Latino Executive Director of the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council. In addition, he served on the Board of Directors for the Eighteen Street Development Corporation and Gads Hill Center.
However, it was a Co-founder and Executive Director of the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) that led to Solis' greatest triumphs in the not-for-profit sector. Solis led the most significant and successful campaigns within Chicago's Latino communities bringing forth an active citizenry. These campaigns included the 1986 IRCA campaign that allowed thousands of undocumented immigrants to seek amnesty as U.S. Residents, followed by the historic 1992 naturalization campaign that eventually assisted well over 50,000 Latino immigrants in applying for U.S. Citizenship. These became model programs not only in Chicago, but also on a national level. In 1995 Solis was appointed as Chairman of Mayor Daley's Citizenship Assistance Council which oversaw the naturalization for over 70, 000 immigrants from around the world.
Solis also led the grassroots support for Chicago's first phase of School Reform, which advocated for local decision-making by elected parents and community residents on Local School Councils (LSC). The "We Need You!" campaign enlisted an unprecedented outpouring of activist public school parents ensuring the success of reform's first LSC elections in 1989. This campaign forever changed the face of public education in Chicago and made way for the second phase of reform in 1995.
Solis was also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Regional Transit Authority and the Chicago Housing Authority. Furthermore, he completed a two-year appointment to Fannie Mae's National Advisory Board.
In recognition of his accomplishments and experience, Solis was appointed alderman in 1996 by the former Mayor, followed by three subsequent elections with over 80% voter support in each. Today, Solis serves the 25th Ward as both Alderman and Committeeman. His success as alderman is attributed in part to his ability build coalitions and partnerships with organizations and institutions that are vital stakeholders in the development of the 25th Ward.
Through passion and commitment to community, hard work and tough decision-making, Solis has laid the foundation in the 25th Ward for further growth and development. Yet, he recognizes that much work remains. It is inarguable, however, that in a span of 5 short years, Daniel Solis has already left an indelible mark on the 25th Ward and in the lives of its residents. It is a stamp, which promises a better future for the generations who will make the 25th Ward their home.