Student continues campaign for alderman after tumultuous start

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Being a freshman in college can already be a challenge without having a political campaign to run at the same time, but DePaul freshman David Krupa does not back down easily.

The 19-year-old is running for alderman in Chicago’s 13th Ward on the Southwest Side, where his opponent, incumbent Marty Quinn, has served in the role since 2011.

Krupa’s campaign almost got disqualified last month. Although he filed 1,703 signatures from ward residents with the Chicago Board of Elections, far more than the 473 required for him to get on the ballot, Quinn’s campaign members fought back. They submitted 2,796 signatures from residents who supposedly wanted to revoke their support for Krupa’s candidacy.

Quinn is known for answering to Michael Madigan, the chair of the Illinois Democratic Party, Illinois House Speaker and a resident of the 13th Ward.

“They’ve been trying to take people off the ballot as far back as I can remember,” Krupa said. “Illegal things are happening and we have to catch it. As my lawyer put it, it was kind of like clown school.”

Krupa and his lawyer challenged the revocation affidavits at an election board hearing in December, saying that only 187 of the 2,796 people had actually signed his nominating petition. Quinn eventually dropped the effort to remove Krupa from the ballot.

Now that Quinn’s campaign has taken back its objection to Krupa’s candidacy, Krupa can focus on winning the election.

Krupa describes himself as an independent moderate who is open to ideas from both conservative and liberal viewpoints. However, his platform focuses on reversing what he calls unfair, regressive property taxes within the 13th Ward as well as increasing police presence in the area, according to his website.

On business issues, Krupa wants to focus more on small businesses.

“What David is doing has the potential to transform Chicago. He’s bringing hope to what is, politically, the most hopeless part of Chicago.””

— Andrew Minik, volunteer with David Krupa’s campaign

“[Chicago] just fought really hard for Amazon and it didn’t pay off,” he said during a Jan. 24 forum he hosted at St. Symphorosa Parish on the Southwest Side.

He believes there is too much aldermanic privilege, which means an alderman can block or initiate city council decisions in his or her ward, including decisions about which businesses can and cannot receive licenses.

“As far as I’m concerned, if you want to open a business, I don’t care what it is,” he said. “If you want to have two barber shops next to each other, that’s fine. Let them compete.”

Judy Ollry, one of the ward residents who attended the forum, agreed. Ollry tried running for alderman in 2011 but could not get on the ballot.

“The city makes opening a business such an arduous process,” she said. “It can take one to two years.”

Ollry says she supports Krupa despite his lack of life experience.

“[Krupa] is the first person to give people an option for a real vote,” Ollry told The DePaulia. “The more I speak with him, the more comfortable I feel about him.”

To help reduce crime in the 13th Ward, Krupa wants the local satellite police office to dispatch officers, not just take police reports, he said during the forum.

In addition, he wants to add more police beat cars and invest more in neighborhood watch groups, the latter of which he said the alderman’s office should sponsor.

But Krupa’s campaign has not been without its fair share of controversy, even without the issue of the signatures.

A photo of him emerged online in 2016 wearing a hat showing support for President Donald Trump and holding a sign that said “Hillary for Prison.”

“In 2016, I supported change to the political system just as I do now,” he said.

He said that while he does not agree with everything President Trump says, he does not want to see him fail, either.

More recently, documents leaked to CBS Chicago show that Krupa received an order of protection in 2017 from the father of a woman he dated in high school. He was not charged with any crime and the documents do not show how the issue was resolved, according to the CBS Chicago story.

“I don’t care because these allegations were false,” Krupa told the station.

Despite the challenges, Krupa still thinks he has a strong chance of winning the election.

“Definitely before the holidays, we were the favorite to win,” he told The DePaulia. “Now it’s probably 50-50 or better.”

Others seem to believe in Krupa as well.

“What David is doing has the potential to transform Chicago,” said Andrew Minik, a volunteer with Krupa’s campaign. “He’s bringing hope to what is, politically, the most hopeless part of Chicago.”