Anthony Joel Quezada takes lessons learned at Lane into Commissioner election


Anthony Joel Quezada, candidate for Cook County Eighth District Commissioner. (Photo courtesy of Quezada)

By Alex Burstein, Editor-in-Chief

From 2010 to 2013, Anthony Joel Quezada walked the halls of Lane as a student, learning the numerous stories of the peers that surrounded him.

Hearing the different stories and backgrounds and struggles of people who attended Lane is what made me realize that there is strength in diversity,” Quezada said. “But there’s also a lot of different injustices that people face.”

Quezada, 26, is hoping to face those challenges first-hand. Quezada is running for 8th District Cook County Commissioner on Chicago’s near northwest side.

County commissioners are elected officials with four year term limits who are in charge of county governance and legislation. There are 17 districts and one commissioner per district, with each district roughly made up of roughly 300,000 people, according to the Board of Commissioners website. 

I think seeing the diversity of students empowered myself, as a gay man, as the son of immigrant parents, to see that with this diversity, there’s so much strength, and there’s so much potential for good in a society,” Quezada said. 

Quezada has served as Cook County Democratic Committeeman since being elected in 2020and has been a community organizer for years. Now, he says he hopes he can help his community face problems created by the pandemic, while also preparing for the future safety of the community through this new office.

In an interview with The Champion, Quezada noted addressing poverty, homelessness and climate change as some of his top priorities.

“I want to make sure that the county’s playing a bigger role in building affordable housing and funding homeless services,” Quezada said. “I want to make sure that we have a generational plan to address climate change. Because climate change is a threat and it’s a crisis right now. It’s not something that is just a problem in the future.”

Quezada hopes to help protect the Cook County Forest Preserve system and create well paying green jobs, in addition to lobbying for a Green New Deal.

Quezada, who has spent years organizing in his community, believes he’ll be able to have greater influence if elected to this position.

“Just because I get elected doesn’t mean I won’t be an organizer anymore. In fact, it’ll make me an even more impactful organizer because I’ll have more resources, more time and more ability to reach more people,” Quezada said. “So I want to be an organizing Commissioner.”

“I want to help generate the kind of support needed to win the resources that we desperately need, like Medicare for All, like a Green New Deal, like canceling student loan debt and et cetera,,” he continued.

Quezada will be competing in a field of five in the June 28, 2022, primary election, including the incumbent Luis Arroyo, Jr.

Until then, Quezada is trying to talk to as many people as possible to garner votes and create community coalitions.

“The main way that you ever win a campaign like this is by talking to thousands of people at the doors and asking them for their support,” Quezada said.

Recently, Quezada received an endorsement from Illinois State Rep. and former Chicago mayoral candidate Jesús “Chuy” García, an influential voice in Illinois politics.

While it’s been nine years since Quezada attended Lane, the impact is still evident as he embarks on his election journey.

“[Lane] really shaped me into the person who I am today,” Quezada said. “And I gathered a lot of my leadership skills from Lane, and my vision for what I want to do today.”