When all 50 Chicago Aldermen ran for re-election two years ago, incumbent 7th Ward Councilwoman Sandi Jackson had a slew of opponents. Aside from the two criminally tainted political dynasties – Jackson and Beavers – there were also a handful of regular, honest, lifelong residents who ran for the office as well. One of them, Greg Mitchell, hopes Mayor Emanuel will pick him to replace just resigned Alderwoman Jackson.
When Sandi Jackson resigned from the Chicago City Council earlier this month, it fell to Mayor Emanuel to appoint her successor. Looking at the numbers, local political new-comer Gregory Mitchell would seem to have the inside track to receive the Mayor’s appointment as the next 7th Ward Alderman. During Jackson’s re-election in 2011, Mitchell was the highest-finishing, non-tainted candidate in the race. Coming in a respectable third behind Beavers and Jackson, Mitchell demonstrated the genuine support he has among the residents of the Ward.
Lifelong 7th Ward resident Greg Mitchell may be a political outsider and a long-shot to replace Sandi Jackson. But he’s demonstrated he’s sincere about his desire to represent the citizens of the Ward in the city council. “I am excited at the possibility of becoming the next Alderman of the 7th Ward and representing my community of over 40 years and I am equally excited at the possibility of working with a new Mayor,” Mitchell told ABC7 Chicago when he ran for the office in 2011, “I feel that a new Mayor will bring a renewed representation to Chicago along with new ideas and a new vision.”
Mitchell describes himself as a businessman with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and a Southeast side little league baseball coach. During his run for Alderman in 2011, he finished with a respectable 12.5% of the vote according to the Chicago Board of Elections. That was enough to finish 3rd in a crowded field of 6 candidates just behind Jackson and Beavers.
Greg Mitchell says that if elected Alderman, his focus will be on turning things around in the 7th Ward. “The most critical issues facing the 7th Ward are underperforming neighborhood schools, increased crime and lack of jobs,” he explains. Detailing how he would address those problems, Mitchell says he would fight for “adequate support and resources” for local students and schools. He also supports hiring more police officers to fight crime and encouraging entrepreneurship and economic development to create jobs.
Mayor Emanuel’s application process
Last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the process he would use to find a replacement for resigned Alderwoman Sandi Jackson – an online application. When Jackson announced her resignation, she told supporters that she herself would be picking her replacement. Emanuel, obviously reveling in Jackson’s discomfort and actually struggling to keep from laughing, told a gathering of reporters that she would have absolutely no part in the process to fill her now-vacant seat. ‘She can recommend someone just like anyone else can,’ the Mayor was paraphrased explaining.
“There will be a comprehensive process to identify a replacement to serve the residents of Chicago’s 7th Ward,” Mayor Emanuel explained in a prepared statement, “I am looking for a candidate with a strong record of community engagement and involvement throughout the ward who is ready to work on day one.” In past years, with former Mayor Daley appointing Aldermanic replacements, the process was anything but fair, open and transparent. Sons, daughters, nieces and nephews were all but guaranteed the Mayor’s appointment to their retiring family member’s city council seat.
This time, while there is no evidence to suggest anything will be different, Mayor Emanuel swears the application process will be on the level. “The process I have devised is a transparent, open process that will allow any eligible resident of the 7th Ward to present their qualifications and will ensure the residents of this community get a strong representative on the City Council,” Emanuel’s statement read.
Online application and 3 finalists
According to Emanuel, those interested in being considered to replace Ald. Sandi Jackson should submit their application online at the web page designed specifically for this appointment. Once all applications are received, a special 4-person panel appointed by Emanuel will review and evaluate each application. At least 3 final candidates will be selected by the panel and will be invited to come into City Hall and interview with the Mayor.
For those who wish to apply for the job of 7th Ward Alderman, visit the city’s special web page here. You better hurry though. Applications must be received by 5pm on January 25. To help with the tight time constraints, the Mayor’s office invites aspirants to drop off their applications in person or email them to the email address provided on the site.
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