18 May Chicago’s City Council: Meet the aldermen from all 50 wards
The new Chicago City Council moves further to the left and welcomes more people of color. Latinos hold 12 seats, more than ever before, but still short of their share of the city’s population. White and black aldermen each hold 19 seats. That’s the smallest number of white aldermen since the current ward system was enacted in 1923, but it’s still greater than the percentage of white people in Chicago. Asians lost their one seat.
The biggest Council gains were political. Six democratic socialists now hold seats, a six-fold increase since 2015 and more socialists than the Council has seen in more than a century. The Council includes 14 aldermen who were not there in 2015. That’s comparable to four years ago, but down from the 18 in 2011. Women hold 15 seats, three more than 2015, but short of the record 18 in 2007.
The aldermen are shown below in order of ward, not their seating arrangement in the Council Chambers, because leadership positions have not been finalized. Click here to contact your alderman, and scroll to the bottom for a downloadable PDF of the entire 2019 Chicago City Council.
Mayor of Chicago: Lori Lightfoot | Born: Aug. 4, 1962
Rocketed from long-shot underdog in the crowded mayoral field to overwhelming frontrunner. The former prosecutor and head of the Chicago Police Board won 17% of the vote in the 14-candidate first round in February, and then went on to trounce Toni Preckwinkle in April, winning all but 20 of the city’s 2,069 precincts. Chicago’s first black woman and first openly gay mayor.
1st Ward: Daniel La Spata | Born: Feb. 26, 1981 | Joined Council: 2019
A former policy and planning associate for Friends of the Park, the Democratic Socialist who unseated Proco “Joe” Moreno in February. Got in hot water for a photo from his bachelor party showing him posing in a banana suit with four African American children.
2nd Ward: Brian Hopkins | Born: Nov. 8, 1961 | Joined Council: 2015
Former director of Illinois Coalition to End Homelessness-turned chief-of-staff to County Commissioner John Daley. Has ushered through plans for the controversial development Lincoln Yards, sparking protests and a public outcry to slow down.
3rd Ward: Pat Dowell | Born: May 13, 1957 | Joined Council: 2007
Lightfoot’s pick to take over powerful Budget Committee. Ex-college basketball player who was a big supporter of Wintrust Arena — the site Lightfoot chose for the 2019 inauguration ceremony. Previously chair of Council’s Committee on Human Relations.
4th Ward: Sophia King | Born: Feb. 14, 1966 | Joined Council: 2017
Appointed to Council by Mayor Rahm Emanuel after Ald. Will Burns’ abrupt resignation. Beat attorney Ebony Lucas in special aldermanic election in 2017 and then again in February 2019 for a full, four-year term. Member of the Council’s Progressive Caucus and a former chemistry teacher at the Latin School.
5th Ward: Leslie Hairston | Born: July 17, 1961 | Joined Council: 1999
Forced into a runoff against activist Will Calloway, but beat him in April by slim 1.3 percentage point margin. Initially opposed a community benefits agreement activists sought for the Obama Presidential Center, though now says she would support one. Progressive Caucus member.
6th Ward: Roderick Sawyer | Born: April 12, 1963 | Joined Council: 2011
Saw his razor-thin Feb. 26 lead slip away, forcing him into April runoff against Deborah A. Foster-Bonner. Admitted he should have campaigned harder, and went on to win third term. Son of former Mayor Eugene Sawyer, head of Council Black Caucus, member of Progressive Caucus.
7th Ward: Gregory I. Mitchell | Born: April 22, 1969 | Joined Council: 2015
Defender of aldermanic prerogative — unwritten rule that gives local aldermen final say over zoning and development in own ward — arguing it allows resident needs to be met. Supports elected school board. Long-term goal is the development of the US Steel South Works Site.
8th Ward: Michelle Harris | Born: Dec. 13, 1961 | Joined Council: 2006
Political protege of once powerful Stroger family who lost her bid to unseat Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown. An Emanuel loyalist and chair of the Rules Committee, she refused to hold hearing on ordinance that would empower city inspector general Joe Ferguson to investigate aldermen.
9th Ward: Anthony Beale | Born: Oct. 22, 1967 | Joined Council: 1999
Could be big loser under Lightfoot Council shake-up plans. Pitched his own plan with him as Lightfoot’s floor leader, warning incoming mayor about picking fight she couldn’t win. She didn’t blink, even moving to dump him as head of Transportation Committee.
10th Ward: Susan Sadlowski Garza | Born: Dec. 16, 1959 | Joined Council: 2015
Daughter of the late United Steel Workers of America chief and organizer Ed Sadlowski. Ousted 16-year incumbent John Pope in 2015 squeaker, then handily won second term in February. Supports a Chicago-based casino and a LaSalle Street tax but no commuter tax.
11th Ward: Patrick Daley Thompson | Born: July 8, 1969 | Joined Council: 2015
Nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley — and grandson of Richard J. Daley — he sailed to second term representing family’s Bridgeport power base in February. Then made headlines for being under federal investigation for unsecured loan he got for ward fund from troubled Washington Federal Bank for Savings.
12th Ward: George Cardenas | Born: Oct. 9, 1964 | Joined Council: 2003
Won seat in 2003 with help from powerful but controversial Hispanic Democratic Organization, secured fifth term in February with thin 25-vote majority. As chairman of Health Committee, proposed penny-an-ounce tax on sugary beverages. Supports casino, legalized and taxed recreational marijuana, LaSalle Street and commuter taxes.
13th Ward: Marty Quinn | Born: Dec. 7, 1974 | Joined Council: 2011
Right-hand man of Speaker Michael Madigan and brother of Kevin Quinn, Madigan aide ousted over sexual harassment allegations by political consultant Alaina Hampton. Insists scandal didn’t cost him chairmanship of powerful Aviation Committee. Trounced Republican DePaul Freshman David Krupa in February after dropping challenge to his nominating papers.
14th Ward: Edward M. Burke | Born: Dec. 29, 1943 | Joined Council: 1969
Council’s longest serving alderman lost reins of Finance Committee — and front-row Council seat— thanks to federal charges of attempted extortion for allegedly trying to use Council position to win private law business. Still beat two challengers, telling supporters “It’s a great day.” Married to state Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke.
15th Ward: Ray Lopez | Born: May 26, 1978 | Joined Council: 2015
Fended off repeat challenger Rafael “Rafa” Yanez for a second term. Left Latino Caucus shortly after being re-elected due to a verbal sparring match with 35th Ward Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, who opposed Lopez’s re-election. A member of LGBT caucus and former Southwest Airlines skycap.
16th Ward: Stephanie Coleman | Born: April 13, 1987 | Joined Council: 2019
Reclaimed seat once held by her mother, beating Ald. Toni Foulkes in April after failed campaign in 2015. Won this time by dubbing Foulkes an “absentee alderman.” Supports legal weed and a Chicago casino. Democratic Ward committeeman and daughter of former Ald. Shirley Coleman, who lost the seat in 2007.
17th Ward: David Moore | Born: Feb. 21, 1966 | Joined Council: 2015
Wanted to make businesses allow people to use their public restrooms without making a purchase, but ultimately backed off. Supports Chicago casino and legalizing pot if money helps neglected areas. Supports real estate transfer tax and LaSalle Street tax to help ease city’s pension debt and fund education.
18th Ward: Derrick G. Curtis | Born: June 3, 1968 | Joined Council: 2015
Won second term in February by clobbering challenger Chuks Onyezia, more than two-to-one. Supports exploring a Chicago casino, legalizing marijuana, a real estate transfer tax and video gambling before raising property or sales taxes. Democratic ward committeeman.
19th Ward: Matthew J. O’Shea | Born: Aug. 26, 1969 | Joined Council: 2011
Tapped by Emanuel to head Aviation Committee. Provided key support to Lori Lightfoot after she won spot in runoff. Carved role as Council champion for domestic violence victims. Supports Chicago casino, legal weed, video gaming and real estate transfer tax for $1 million plus properties.
20th Ward: Jeanette B. Taylor | Born: May 15, 1975 | Joined Council: 2019
Community activist known for her role in the Dyett School hunger strike. One of five democratic socialists on Council, she won seat after disgraced former Ald. Willie Cochran pleaded guilty to seeking bribes from businessmen and dipping into a charitable fund for personal use.
21st Ward: Howard Brookins Jr. | Born: Oct. 21, 1963 | Joined Council: 2003
An Emanuel supporter who served on the school closings commission that resulted in the closure of 50 schools. Lightfoot’s pick to replace veteran Ald. Anthony Beale for transportation chairman in her tentative Council shake-up.
22nd Ward: Michael D. Rodriguez | Born: Aug. 31, 1978 | Joined Council: 2019
Democratic ward committeeman and executive vice chair of the Cook County Democratic Party who replaces outgoing Ald. Ricardo Munoz. Rivals dubbed him Munoz’s “hand-picked successor” after Munoz was tainted by domestic violence allegations, but he still won easily in February. Supports legalized marijuana and exploring LaSalle Street and commuter taxes.
23rd Ward: Silvana Tabares | Born: Jan. 7, 1979 | Joined Council: 2018
Spent five years in Illinois House before being appointed to the Council to replace retiring Ald. Mike Zalewski. A staunch Mike Madigan ally and Democratic state central committeewoman, she easily defeated her opponent in the February election to secure her first full term.
24th Ward: Michael Scott Jr. | Born: Dec. 24, 1975 | Joined Council: 2015
Beat three rivals in February to secure second term, after winning seat in 2015 in race that started with 10 candidates. Focused on affordable housing and redevelopment, won library renovations and new boxing ring for Franklin Park. Former Chicago Park District official.
25th Ward: Byron Sigcho-Lopez | Born: July 7, 1983 | Joined Council: 2019
One of six democratic socialists on Council, a community organizer who once ran Pilsen Alliance, which advocates for affordable housing, schools and social justice. Supports LaSalle Street, commuter and legalized marijuana taxes. Was backed by Chicago Teachers Union, replaces disgraced Ald. Danny Solis.
26th Ward: Roberto Maldonado | Born: Aug. 28, 1951 | Joined Council: 2009
Narrowly escaped being forced into runoff, winning February majority by half a percentage point. A former Cook County commissioner, supports Chicago casino that’s sensitive to the needs of the community and video gambling, but not legalized weed at this time.
27th Ward: Walter Burnett, Jr. | Born: Aug. 16, 1963 | Joined Council: 1995
The third longest serving alderman, pushed stepson to succeed City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin in Illinois House. Sponsored ordinance to preserve single-room occupancy housing. Protégé of Secretary of State Jesse White, is open to Chicago casino, commuter tax and legalized and taxed marijuana, but undecided on LaSalle Street tax.
28th Ward: Jason C. Ervin Born: May 7, 1974 | Joined Council: 2011
Sponsored ordinance that would have required equipping all sworn Chicago Police officers with Tasers and releasing videos of police-involved shootings within 14 days. Pushed for crackdowns on prostitution, public drinking, gambling and urinating on the public way. His wife, Melissa Conyears-Ervin, was elected city treasurer.
29th Ward: Chris Taliaferro | Born: Dec. 9, 1965 | Joined Council: 2015
Former Chicago Police officer, pushed senior and nursing home “safety zones” that enhanced fines and jail time for possession of an assault weapon and other gun-related offenses near nursing homes and other senior housing. Won second term by shutting out two challengers in February.
30th Ward: Ariel Reboyras | Born: Aug. 7, 1953 | Joined Council: 2003
Defeated Jessica Gutierrez, daughter of former U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez in contentious runoff. Countered her “fresh voice” message by saying her father was trying to “buy” her a Council seat. Was chairman of Public Safety Committee, but could get Zoning instead. Was loyal to former mayors, Emanuel and Richard M. Daley.
31st Ward: Felix Cardona Jr. | Born: Dec. 10, 1974 | Joined Council: 2019
Ousted freshman Ald. Milly Santiago in April runoff. Ally of former Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios, worked in assessor’s office. Supports Chicago casino, legalized and taxed marijuana and video gambling in Chicago if revenue is used to fund city pensions.
32nd Ward: Scott Waguespack | Born: June 23, 1970 | Joined Council: 2007
Chairman of the Progressive Caucus and Lori Lightfoot’s pick to head coveted Finance Committee, a reward for endorsing Lightfoot that is at odds with plan senior aldermen proposed. An outspoken critic of Mayor Emanuel. One of five aldermen who ran unopposed.
33rd Ward: Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez | Born: Nov. 13, 1978 | Joined Council: 2019
Born in Puerto Rico, Columbia College adviser who ended 44-year Mell dynasty by beating incumbent Deb Mell by just 13 votes in April runoff. One of six democratic socialists in the Council, is member of 33rd Ward Working Families organization created during 2015 race to oust Mell.
34th Ward: Carrie Austin | Born: May 15, 1949 | Joined Council: 1994
Big loser in proposed Council shake-up. Outspoken veteran backed Toni Preckwinkle for mayor, but then vowed loyalty to Lightfoot in bid to remain Budget Committee chairman. Unimpressed, Lightfoot wants her on new equity issues panel instead. No. 2 in Council seniority. Hired her son as ward superintendent.
35th Ward: Carlos Ramirez-Rosa | Born: Feb 18, 1989 | Joined Council: 2015
City’s youngest alderman, he’s dean of Council’s democratic socialists. Backed Toni Preckwinkle over Lightfoot. Has sparred with fellow aldermen, joining failed Twitter campaign to oust Ald. Ray Lopez. Was also called “a pile of s—” by Ald. Nick Sposato during dispute over their opposing mayoral endorsements.
36th Ward: Gilbert Villegas | Born: Oct. 26, 1970 | Joined Council: 2015
A winner under Lightfoot’s Council plan. She tapped the Hispanic Caucus chairman to serve as her floor leader and chair of the Economic Development Committee. But that means he now must deliver the votes. Wants more Latinos in city jobs, saying Emanuel was “deaf on the issue.”
37th Ward: Emma Mitts | Born: June 12, 1955 | Joined Council: 2000
Staunch supporter of new police and fire academy in West Garfield Park, which is part of her ward. Proposed, then pulled, an ordinance loosening liquor restrictions at strip clubs. Apologized for anti-gay remark caught on video during 2015 campaign.
38th WARD: Nicholas Sposato | Born: Oct. 7, 1958 | Joined Council: 2011
One of Council’s most conservative members, left Progressive Caucus in part over clashes on social issues ranging from immigration to police reform. Contributed to defense fund of Officer Robert Rialmo, who shot and killed Quintonio LeGrier and neighbor Bettie Jones. A retired firefighter who suffers from multiple sclerosis, he uses a wheelchair.
39th Ward: Samantha Nugent | Born: April 27, 1977 | Joined Council: 2019
Defeated Robert Murphy in April runoff to replace longtime Ald. Margaret Laurino. Former chief of staff for Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, most recent job was at health care non-profit. Supports a Chicago casino, legalizing marijuana, sports betting and video gambling.
40th Ward: Andre Vasquez | Born: May 21, 1979 | Joined Council: 2019
Community activist and former battle rapper ousted Emanuel’s floor leader, Ald. Pat O’Connor, whose Council tenure put him just behind Ald. Ed Burke. A democratic socialist and AT&T account manager, he apologized for homophobic remarks made years ago.
41st Ward: Anthony V. Napolitano | Born: March 29, 1975 | Joined Council: 2015
A former Chicago police officer turned firefighter who lost the support of unions, such as the Service Employees International Union, that supported him four years ago. Half of the ‘conservative voting bloc’ along with Ald. Nick Sposato. Stood with Sposato as the Chicago Firefighters Union endorsed Lightfoot.
42nd Ward: Brendan Reilly | Born: Dec. 26, 1971 | Joined Council: 2007
Endorsed Lori Lightfoot and raised money for her campaign. Muffled sounds of street music in his downtown ward with ordinance that limited time and locations of performers. Also proposed or supported crackdowns on drag racing on Lower Wacker Drive, party buses downtown, cyclists on the Riverwalk and more.
43rd Ward: Michele Smith | Born: Feb. 12, 1955 | Joined Council: 2011
Secured another term in April runoff by touting independence and ethics reform efforts. Sponsored ordinance that would empower city Inspector General Joe Ferguson to investigate aldermen and their employees. Voted against massive Lincoln Yards development neighboring her ward.
44th Ward: Tom Tunney | Born: Aug. 22, 1955 | Joined Council: 2002
Council veteran was fellow aldermen’s choice to hold reins of Finance Committee, but Lightfoot wants him to head Zoning instead. The city’s first openly gay alderman. Styles himself as peacemaker between the Cubs’ owners and Wrigleyville residents — but is increasingly at odds with Ricketts family.
45th Ward: Jim Gardiner | Born: April 17, 1976 | Joined Council: 2019
Ousted Ald. John Arena in February. A Chicago firefighter/EMT and Chicago Public Schools teacher at Taft and Schurz high schools and 7th and 8th grade basketball coach. Supports elected school board and moratorium on charter schools. OK with Chicago casino, video gambling and legal marijuana if money goes to pensions.
46th Ward: James Cappleman | Born: Oct. 26, 1952 | Joined Council: 2011
Squeezed past challenger Marianne Lalonde by just 25 votes in April runoff. Was interim chair of the Zoning Committee after disgraced Ald. Danny Solis stepped down. Tried to delay the vote on Lincoln Yards and demanded more units of affordable housing for the project.
47th Ward: Matt Martin | Born: March 5, 1984 | Joined Council: 2019
Civil rights lawyer who worked for former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Defeated former Emanuel policy chief Michael Negron in April runoff. Succeeds former Ald. Ameya Pawar, who limited himself to two terms and lost his bid to become city treasurer.
48th Ward: Harry Osterman | Born: April 16, 1967 | Joined Council: 2011
A former state rep and community activist with a focus on public safety issues. His name was recently linked to a decades-old hiring scandal from his days as Streets and San personnel director, but he defended his tenure and says he was never accused of wrongdoing.
49th Ward: Maria Hadden | Born: Jan. 20, 1981 | Joined Council: 2019
Ousted longtime Ald. Joe Moore in February. A member of the LGBT community and a member of Network 49, the ward’s independent progressive political organization, Hadden supports a LaSalle Street tax, a real estate transfer tax and legalizing and taxing recreational marijuana.
50th Ward: Debra Silverstein | Born: Oct. 4, 1965 | Joined Council: 2011
A former small business owner and Emanuel ally who has advocated for residents upset about noise from O’Hare Airport and better constituent services for her ward. Wife of former state Sen. Ira Silverstein.