City Club of Chicago: Immigration – The American Dilemma
May 9, 2017
Immigration: The American Dilemma – Hon. Jesus Garcia, Sylvia Puente, Juan Rangel, and John Rowe
Hon. Jesus Garcia
Jesús “Chuy” García is the Commissioner for the 7th District on the Cook County Board. First elected to the Board in 2010, Garcia is a progressive leader who has fought to improve the lives of all people. In 2011, he helped put an end to Cook County’s cooperation with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) by passing an ordinance that prevents County officials from detaining a person based on suspicion of being undocumented. That measure became the first of its kind in the nation, and more than 250 localities have followed Cook County’s lead.
Born in Durango, Mexico, Garcia and his family moved to Pilsen when he was ten years old. Inspired by the speeches of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez, Garcia earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
In 1986—after serving for three years as the city’s Deputy Water Commissioner—Garcia was elected Alderman of the 22nd Ward. Beginning in 1993, Garcia served two terms in the Illinois State Senate, where he represented the 1st District. As the first-ever Mexican-American elected to the State Senate, Garcia pushed a broad range of legislation to benefit the working families of his district.
In 1998, Garcia became the Founding Executive Director of Enlace Chicago (formerly known as LVCDC), a leading non-profit community development organization in Little Village. He recently served on the boards of several non-profit organizations including the Latino Policy Forum—where he was the Founding President—and the Woods Fund of Chicago—where he served as Chairman.
Today, Garcia lives in Little Village with his wife Evelyn. They have three adult children—Jesus, Samuel, and Rosa—and three grandchildren.
Sylvia Puente is the Executive Director of the Latino Policy Forum, the only public policy and advocacy organization in the Chicago metropolitan area working to improve educational outcomes for children, make housing accessible and affordable, promote just immigration reform, and build the influence and leadership of the Latino community. Through the Latino Policy Forum, she works with more than 100 organizational leaders in the Chicago metropolitan region. She is also the convener of the Illinois Latino Agenda, where her collaboration and consensus-building skills are highly valued. She has been recognized as one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics in the US” by Hispanic Business magazine.
Puente was introduced to her life’s work as an advocate, policy analyst, and activist for Latino issues at the age of thirteen when she joined her mother on picket lines in support of the United Farm Workers. From 2001-2008, she served as the Director of the Center for Metropolitan Chicago Initiatives for the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies. Before that, she was Director of New Community Initiatives for The Resurrection Project and she worked for the Latino Institute—a prominent think thank on Latino issues during the 90’s—as the Director of Research, Public Policy, and Advocacy. Puente also founded the Latino Leadership Council of the Chicago Foundation for Women, which has raised thousands of dollars to support organizations that provide services to women and girls.
Puente began her master’s degree studies at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and received her MA from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. She holds a BA in Economics from the University of Illinois.
Juan Rangel is the President of Mastery Consulting, LLC, which provides strategy, planning, and public affairs support for non-profit organizations, private businesses, and aspiring leaders and political candidates.
Prior to forming Mastery, Rangel served as the CEO of UNO (United Neighborhood Organization) and founded the UNO Charter Schools in 1998. Under his leadership, UNO represented Chicago’s Hispanic community as the largest community group in the state of Illinois serving over 7,500 families in its 16 high-performing schools across the city. Rangel also formed the Metropolitan Leadership Institute where many of today’s Hispanic leaders got their start.
In 2011, he served as Co-Chair for Rahm Emanuel’s first campaign for Mayor.
Rangel recently helped launch a national effort with prominent Mexican American leaders under the banner of MALPAC (Mexican American Leadership, Policy and Action Committee), a non-profit whose mission is to promote a new perspective of the Mexican community, not as a victimized minority in America, but as our nation’s latest immigrant group in search of opportunity.
Rangel holds a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University.
John W. Rowe is Chairman Emeritus of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation, an electric utility serving Chicago, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.
Rowe led Exelon from its formation in 2000 through the completion of its acquisition of Constellation Energy in 2012. Rowe previously held Chief Executive Officer positions at the New England Electric System and Central Maine Power Company, served as General Counsel of Consolidated Rail Corporation, and was a Partner in the law firm of Isham, Lincoln & Beale. Rowe is a past Chairman of Edison Electric Institute. He was Co-Chairman of the National Commission on Energy Policy and served on the Secretary of Energy’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. He is the lead independent director of the Northern Trust Company and SunCoke Energy and a member of the Board of Directors of The Allstate Corporation and American DG Energy.
Rowe is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Co-Chairman of the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition. He is a former Chairman of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Chicago History Museum, The Field Museum, and the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is a member of the boards of the Noble Network of Charter Schools, the Northwestern University Settlement House, The Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and The Pritzker Military Library. In 2013, he was elected one of the five regents of the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Rowe holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif. He has also received the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award and is a past President of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. Rowe and his wife, Jeanne, reside in Chicago, as does their son, William.