31 // Attorney *
From: Hyde Park
Lives in: Lincoln Park
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Although he’s the grandson and son of judges, Balanoff grew up wanting to be a doctor. After going to school to be an EMT, he decided it wasn’t for him and switched to law. He is on the council of Lincoln Park High School and hopes to run for other offices in the future.
Why the career switch? “The Balanoff family in Chicago is a long line of political, socially active folks, going back 100 years now. Following in the family footsteps is definitely something I’m interested in. Everyone can want to make a change, but unless you actually step up and get elected to certain offices, you can’t do as much.”
What defines you? “I absolutely love America. We have our faults for sure, but people in this country love it, and everyone works to make it better.”
On Chicago history: “When you look at a post card from 20 years ago, the skyline is almost unrecognizable from today. I love the history here—political and cultural. It’s so rich; on every corner, something’s happened. History is life. We’re here for 80 to 100 years, and then we’re gone. Everyone wants to leave a legacy, and what you do in your life is important. If you do good things, it gets remembered and passed on.”
On his hideaway: “I play the piano. At the Harold Washington Library on State Street, on the eighth floor, there are a bunch of soundproof rooms with pianos. The library was right next to my law school, so between classes I’d go in there and play. It’s relaxing. Growing up, we weren’t really allowed to watch TV, and I started tapping away on the piano when I was a kid. I write a lot of music. It’s a part of me. I play mostly by ear—everything from ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ to Cee Lo.”
On his dream girl: “I think kindness is really underrated. You meet a lot of pretty girls at bars and clubs, and they’re just a little crazy, a little mean. I’d like someone who’s drop-dead gorgeous, but looks fade away, and if you don’t have someone you can talk to, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble down the line. She’s got to be super smart, someone who’s broadening my horizons every time I talk to her. That’s important, especially for the long run.” —E.K.
* interested in women * interested in men
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