About alderman silverstein

Debra Silverstein has been Alderman of the 50th Ward since 2011. Since being elected, she has worked tirelessly to make this neighborhood a better place to live for the many residents who call it home. Her focus has been on making the 50th Ward safer, more family-friendly, beautiful, and economically strong.

Debra has brought several groundbreaking projects to the 50th Ward that improve the quality of life of the neighborhood’s residents. These include a new, state-of-the-art library at Pratt and Western, a multi-million dollar Streetscape of Devon Avenue, a brand-new park at Devon and McCormick, and an interactive Nature Play Center at Indian Boundary Park.

She has acted to improve the quality of education available to our Ward’s children. Under her leadership, the local public schools received more than $68 million in much-needed enhancements, including gorgeous new annex additions at Rogers Elementary and Decatur Classical School. Each of our neighborhood parks have also received brand new playground equipment, giving local children healthy, outdoor recreational options after school hours.

She has also acted to update our neighborhood’s aging infrastructure. To date, she has worked with the City to completely resurface nearly 300 streets, add brighter and safer piggyback street lights to dozens of blocks, and replace many antiquated water and sewer mains across the neighborhood. Infrastructure work is always ongoing, so please reach out to the 50th Ward Office with any pothole locations or infrastructure needs.

Debra works closely with the local police to make sure the 50th Ward remains a safe place to live and raise a family. She has a direct line to all the local police commanders and is not afraid to use it. In return, the police know that she will always act to make sure they have the resources necessary to keep this community safe.

Debra has also dedicated herself to being an advocate for the neighborhood in the Chicago City Council. She is the Chairman of the Committee on License and Consumer Protection and has supported many important pieces of legislation that improve the life of our local residents. These include vital worker protections, such as an increased minimum wage and ordinances guaranteeing predictable work schedules and paid sick leave. Other legislative victories include her Traffic Crash Review Ordinance, which makes Chicago streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, CHI vs Hate—the first major revamp of the city’s hate crimes ordinance in more than three decades—and an ordinance aimed at combating the spread of bed bugs.

But Debra’s major passion is serving her constituents. She is always available to answer residents’ emails and phone calls or speak with them in person. She frequently holds large community events, including the extremely popular Movie in the Park at Chippewa, her annual Back to School Fair, and regular Job Fairs.

The 50th Ward is the most diverse and wonderful community in the City of Chicago. Drawing from a wide breadth of knowledge and commitment to the residents of this neighborhood, Debra works every day to make it a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

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meet the ward staff

Neena Holley

Neena Holley Graduated from A&M University in San Antonio, Texas with a degree in Criminology and Sociology. She moved with her family to Chicago in 2016 and settled here in the 50th Ward. After working for many years in security management and working closely with local city and federal agencies, she joins our team to work directly with the public and make a difference in our community.


Shelly Lyon

Shelly Lyon was born and raised in Chicago and started working for 36th Ward Alderman William Banks as an administrative assistant to the Committee on Zoning in 2001. In October 2009, she became the Chief of Staff for Alderman John Rice, who was appointed after Alderman Banks retired. With her experience in city government, she hopes to be of great service to Alderman Silverstein and to the residents of the 50th Ward.


Carly Podbielski

Carly Podbielski is a Chicago native, born and raised. She graduated from St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin, and comes to the 50th Ward after working for former-38th Ward Alderman Tim Cullerton. Carly is a pet-lover and shares her home with a cat and dog. She is outgoing and passionate about public service and looks forward to applying her experience to helping to the residents of the 50th Ward.


Marlene Raddatz

Marlene Raddatz is a native Chicagoan who has spent more than 60 years living in the same residence in our great city. She is a graduate of Resurrection High School and attended Wright Junior College. Marlene worked for Town and Country Travel for more than 20 years and had the opportunity to travel the world, plan trips for countless clients, and manage a premier travel agency.

In 2002, Marlene was hired by Alderman Patrick J. Levar to serve as a staff assistant. Over nine years in the 45th Ward Offices, she learned the operations of the City Council as well as those that affect the community. Skills she brings to bear in the 50th Ward. Her careers have bridged customer service in both the private and public sectors and Marlene enjoys building relationships with the people she has the opportunities to assist. She enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, bike riding and cooking.


Keith Sokolowski

Keith Sokolowski previously served as Community Relations Commissioner for the Village of Niles, worked for the State of Illinois, and spent many years as a community organizer in the North Suburbs of Cook County. After moving to West Ridge and becoming a 50th Ward resident, Keith joined our office team to serve his community and work to help his neighbors.


Yisrael Shapiro

Yisrael Shapiro received his undergraduate degree from Yeshiva University in New York and a Master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He came to the 50th Ward Office from the Chicago Reporter, a publication that reports on social, economic and political issues in Chicago.

Yisrael is a native of the 50th Ward, both growing up and currently living in West Rogers Park. He understands the unique challenges that face the 50th Ward and eagerly brings his expertise and enthusiasm to bear in service of all its residents.