Last weekâ€™s mayoral and aldermanic elections in Chicago were a page turner in the cityâ€™s history. It marked the election of Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff to President Obama, as the first Jewish mayor of the city. The election also delivered the first Asian alderman to city council. The fact that the Indian origin Ameya Pawar,30, was elected from a predominantly white ward is an indication of the growing integration of the cityâ€™s population.
Disappointingly,however, Ahmed Khan lost despite running a spirited campaign. The 26 year old community worker energized the residents of the fiftieth ward with his fresh ideas and proposals. He reached out to all communities in the diverse 50th ward and received much praise for highlighting the real issues. The ward includes the famous Devon Avenue stretch which is one of the largest concentration of South Asian businesses in North America.
Despite a strong showing Ahmed Khan lost the election and came in second last. He wasnâ€™t able to match the might of giant campaign funds of the incumbent Bernard Stone and the runner-up Debra Silverstein. The two will face off in a final deciding election in April.
It would be unfair,however, to see Khanâ€™s loss as the end of the story. His campaign announcement had sent jitters down the spines of the front runners and propelled them to campaign more actively in the ethnic communities in the area. According to some observers it was the first time that the two front runners had campaigned outside mosques in the ward. In this sense it was a victory for the community whose needs have for long been neglected by the politicians.
It is hoped that Ahmed Khan will stay the course and continues to serve the ward and the community in various capacities. He has a bright future ahead.