Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has launched a plan to find a replacement for the city's 4th Ward aldermanic seat. Ald. Will Burns resigned at the beginning of the month to take a job in the private sector.
Starting Friday at 9 a.m., residents of the ward will be able to apply for the seat online here. Applications will be accepted until Friday, March 4 at 5 p.m.
Emanuel has also convened a committee "with community representation to review the applications submitted, as well as interview candidates by phone or in person, if necessary." The committee will submit three candidates to Emanuel for review.
The committee members are Reverend Dr. Richard Tolliver of St. Edmund's Episcopal Church; Bonnie Sanchez of the Near South Planning Board; Kenwood resident Paula Wolff; Bill Lowry, a resident of Hyde Park; and Ald. Michelle Harris (8th). Rev. Tolliver will spearhead the committee.
Emanuel will announce his pick of the three candidates that were submitted to him by the committee on April 29. The new alderman will be sworn in at the May 18 council meeting. A special election for the seat will be held in February 2017 due to Illinois election law, which requires a vote to be held if more than 28 months are left in a term when the seat is left vacant. The next round of Chicago municipal elections is not until 2019.
Here's more info on the backgrounds of the committee members, according to the mayor's office:
- Rev. Dr. Richard L. Tolliver is a Kenwood resident and has been the pastor of St. Edmund's Episcopal Church since 1989. In November 1990, he founded the St. Edmund's Redevelopment Corporation (SERC), a not-for-profit community development corporation devoted to revitalizing the housing stock of Washington Park, the neighborhood in which the church is located. He currently serves a member of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks as well as the Low Income Housing Trust Fund.
- For 26 years, Bonnie Sanchez-Carlson has worked for the Near South Planning Board, which plans, guides and encourages a program of development for the area while creating, supporting and promoting a thriving business district. In 2003, she became the first Hispanic woman to serve as its Executive Director. She is a member of the Lambda Alpha Ely Chapter Honorary Society for the Advancement of Land Economics and serves on the Illinois Comptroller's Hispanic Advisory Board. She has been a charter member of the Rotary Club of Chicago Near South for the past 13 years and serves as an Assistant District Governor.
- Paula Wolff is Director of the Illinois Justice Project, a civic organization developing and implementing policy initiatives and programs to reform the criminal justice system by addressing youth trauma and reducing youth and adult violence, crime and incarceration. Previously, she served as Senior Executive at Chicago Metropolis 2020 and Metropolis Strategies, where she led the Justice and Violence Group, which was the predecessor to the Illinois Justice Project. She serves on numerous boards, including the University of Chicago, the University of Chicago Medical Center, the Joyce Foundation, and Ariel Investment. She has also chaired the Illinois Tollway and the City Colleges of Chicago Board.
- William A. "Bill" Lowry is a Kenwood resident and career attorney serving as Managing Shareholder for Nyhan, Bambrick, Kinzie, & Lowry, PC. He specializes in the areas of Workers' Compensation defense and employer liability, and has been licensed as an attorney since 1988 by the Northern District of Illinois and the State of Illinois. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Chicago and Cook County Bar Associations and the Economic Club of Chicago. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Governors of Loyola University Chicago School of Law and on the Board of Trustees of Lake Forest College. Lowry also serves as Vice-Chair of the Illinois Capital Development Board.
- Alderman Michelle Harris serves as Chairman of the Chicago City Council Committee on Rules, Committees and Ethics. She has a long-standing history of community involvement, stemming from the influence of her parents, who were stewards of their neighborhood. She has been Alderman of the 8th ward since December of 2006. Prior to that, she served in a variety of capacities serving the public. From Chief of Staff to an Alderman, to Streets and Sanitation Ward Superintendent to the Cook County Board of Commissioners, Harris has found success employing her strong community roots, and excellent work ethic.