|Mayor of Chicago|
Seal of the City of Chicago
|Term length||4 years|
|Inaugural holder||William Butler Ogden|
|Succession||Vice-Mayor of Chicago|
|Website||Office of the Mayor|
The Mayor of Chicago is the chief executive of Chicago, Illinois, the third-largest city in the United States. The mayor is responsible for the administration and management of various city departments, submits proposals and recommendations to the Chicago City Council, is active in the enforcement of the city's ordinances, submits the city's annual budget and appoints city officers, department commissioners or directors, and members of city boards and commissions.
The chief executive officer (CEO) or just chief executive (CE), is the most senior corporate, executive, or administrative officer in charge of managing an organization – especially an independent legal entity such as a company or nonprofit institution. CEOs lead a range of organizations, including public and private corporations, non-profit organizations and even some government organizations. The CEO of a corporation or company typically reports to the board of directors and is charged with maximizing the value of the entity, which may include maximizing the share price, market share, revenues or another element. In the non-profit and government sector, CEOs typically aim at achieving outcomes related to the organization's mission, such as reducing poverty, increasing literacy, etc.
Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,716,450 (2017), it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, and the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States. The metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States, and the fourth largest in North America and the third largest metropolitan area in the world by land area.
Illinois is a state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois is often noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.
During sessions of the city council, the mayor serves as the presiding officer. The mayor submits proposals and recommendations to the city council of his own accord and on behalf of city departments. The mayor is not allowed to vote on issues except in certain instances, most notably where the vote taken on a matter before the body results in a tie.
The office of mayor was created when Chicago became a city in 1837.
The mayor appoints the commissioner of the Chicago Fire Department and superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. He or she also appoints the heads of city departments, the largest of which are the Water Management Department (formed by the consolidation of the former Water Department and Sewer Department under Richard M. Daley) and the Streets & Sanitation Department. He or she also appoints members to the boards of several special-purpose governmental bodies including the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago Transit Authority, and the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority. Under Richard M. Daley, the Illinois legislature granted the mayor power to appoint the governing board and chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Schools and subordinated the district to the mayor; the district had long been an independent unit of government.
The Chicago Fire Department (CFD) provides both fire suppression and emergency medical services to the city of Chicago, Illinois, United States, under the jurisdiction of the Mayor of Chicago. The Chicago Fire Department is the third largest municipal fire department in the United States after the New York City Fire Department and Cal Fire, as measured by sworn personnel. It is also one of the oldest major organized fire departments in the nation.
The Chicago Police Department (CPD) is the law enforcement agency of the U.S. city of Chicago, Illinois, under the jurisdiction of the City Council. It is the second largest municipal police department in the United States, behind the New York City Police Department. It has approximately 13,500 officers and over 1,925 other employees. Tracing its roots back to the year 1835, the Chicago Police Department is one of the oldest modern police forces in the world. The United States Department of Justice has criticized the department for its poor training, lack of oversight and routine use of excessive force.
Richard Michael Daley is an American politician, lawyer, and author who served as the 54th Mayor of Chicago, Illinois from 1989 to 2011. Daley was elected mayor in 1989 and was reelected five times until declining to run for a seventh term. At 22 years, he was the longest-serving Chicago mayor, surpassing the tenure of his father, Richard J. Daley.
The Chicago City Clerk and City Treasurer of Chicago are elected separately, as are the 50 aldermen who form the city council. The mayor is empowered, however, to fill vacancies in any of these 52 elected offices by appointment. In turn, the city council elects one of its own to fill a mayoral vacancy.
The City Treasurer of Chicago is an elected official of the City of Chicago.
The mayor of Chicago is elected by popular vote every four years, on the last Tuesday in February. A run-off election, in the event that no candidate garners more than fifty percent of the vote, is held on the first Tuesday in April. The election is held on a non-partisan basis. Chicago is the largest city in the United States not to limit the term of service for its mayor.
A term limit is a legal restriction that limits the number of terms an officeholder may serve in a particular elected office. When term limits are found in presidential and semi-presidential systems they act as a method of curbing the potential for monopoly, where a leader effectively becomes "president for life". This is intended to protect a democracy from becoming a de facto dictatorship. Sometimes, there is an absolute or lifetime limit on the number of terms an officeholder may serve; sometimes, the restrictions are merely on the number of consecutive terms he or she may serve.
In accordance with Illinois law, the city council elects a vice-mayor (currently Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), since May 2015) who serves as interim mayor in the event of a vacancy in the office of the mayor or the inability of the mayor to serve due to illness or injury until the city council elects one of its members acting mayor or until the mayoral term expires. However, if a vacancy occurs in the office of mayor with more than 28 months remaining in the mayoral term and at least 130 days before the next general municipal election, then a special election must be held to choose a new mayor to serve out the remainder of the term at that general municipal election; if a vacancy occurs with less than 28 months remaining in the mayoral term or less than 130 days before the next general municipal election, then the acting mayor serves as mayor until the mayoral term expires.
In the absence of the mayor during meetings of the city council, the president pro tempore of the city council, who is a member of and elected by the city council, acts as presiding officer. Unlike the mayor, the president pro tempore can vote on all legislative matters.
The first mayor was William Butler Ogden. Two sets of father and son have been elected Mayor of Chicago: Carter Harrison, Sr. and Carter Harrison, Jr. as well as Richard J. Daley and Richard M. Daley. Carter Harrison, Jr. was the first mayor to have been born in the city. The first woman to hold the office was Jane Byrne. The first black mayor was Harold Washington. As an interim mayor, David Duvall Orr had the shortest mayoral term. Richard M. Daley was originally elected in 1989 and re-elected for the sixth time in 2007. In September 2010, Daley announced that he would not seek reelection for a seventh term as mayor. On December 26, 2010, Daley became Chicago's longest-serving mayor, surpassing his father's record.Rahm Emanuel is the current mayor, having won the 2011 election with 55% of the vote to 25% for his closest opponent, Gery Chico. Emanuel was sworn in on May 16, 2011. In an April 7, 2015 run-off election Emanuel won re-election with 55.7 percent to challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia's 44.3 percent.
Richard Joseph Daley was an American politician who served as the 48th Mayor of Chicago for a total of 21 years beginning on April 20, 1955, until his death on December 20, 1976. Daley was the chairman of the Cook County Democratic Central Committee for 23 years, holding both positions until his death in office in 1976. Daley was Chicago's third consecutive mayor from the working-class, heavily Irish American Bridgeport neighborhood on Chicago's South Side, where he lived his entire life. Daley is remembered for doing much to avoid the declines that some other "rust belt" cities—like Cleveland, Buffalo and Detroit—experienced during the same period. He had a strong base of support in Chicago's Irish Catholic community, and he was treated by national politicians such as Lyndon B. Johnson as a pre-eminent Irish American, with special connections to the Kennedy family. Daley played a major role in the history of the Democratic Party, especially with his support of John F. Kennedy in 1960 and of Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Daley is the father of Richard M. Daley, also a former mayor of Chicago, William M. Daley, a former United States Secretary of Commerce, and John P. Daley, a member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. While many members of Daley's administration were charged with corruption and convicted, Daley himself was never charged with corruption.
Jane Margaret Byrne was an American politician who served as the 50th Mayor of Chicago from April 16, 1979, until April 29, 1983. Byrne won the Chicago mayoral election on April 3, 1979, becoming the first female mayor of Chicago, the second largest city in the United States at the time. She was also the first woman to be elected mayor of a major city in the United States. Prior to her tenure as mayor, Byrne served as Chicago's commissioner of consumer sales from 1969 until 1977, the only woman to be a part of Mayor Richard J. Daley's cabinet.
Harold Lee Washington was an American lawyer and politician who was the 51st Mayor of Chicago. Washington became the first African–American to be elected as the city's mayor in February 1983. He served as mayor from April 29, 1983 until his death on November 25, 1987. Earlier, he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 to 1983, representing Illinois' first district. Washington had previously served in the Illinois State Senate and the Illinois House of Representatives from 1965 until 1976.
By charter, Chicago has a "weak-mayor" system, in which most of the power is vested in the city council. In practice, however, the mayor of Chicago has long been one of the most powerful municipal chief executives in the nation. Unlike mayors in most other weak-mayor systems, he or she has the power to draw up the budget. Before the mayor's office became officially nonpartisan, the mayor was the de facto leader of the city's Democratic Party, and had great influence over the ward organizations.
The mayoral term in Chicago was one year from 1837 through 1863, when it was increased to two years. In 1907, it was lengthened to four years, the present duration. Until 1861, municipal elections were held in March. In that year, legislation moved them to April. In 1869, however, election day was changed to November, and terms expiring in April of that year were lengthened. In 1875, election day was moved back to April by the city's vote to operate under the Cities and Villages Act of 1872.
45 men and one woman (Jane Byrne, 1979-1983), have held the office. Richard M. Daley (1989-2011) was the longest serving mayor, and Harold Washington (1983-1987) was the first African American mayor. The first Irish Catholic mayor was John Patrick Hopkins (1893-1895), and Rahm Emanuel (2011-2019) is the only Jewish person to have served as mayor. Current mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot (upon entering office in May 2019) will become the city's first openly gay mayor.
|#||Mayor||Term start||Term end||Terms||Years|
|1||1||William B. Ogden||1837||1838||1||1||Democratic|
|2||2||Buckner S. Morris||1838||1839||1||1||Whig|
|3||3||Benjamin W. Raymond||1839||1840||1||1||Whig|
|5||5||Francis C. Sherman||1841||1842||1||1||Democratic|
|6||(3)||Benjamin W. Raymond||1842||1843||1||1||Whig|
|10||8||John P. Chapin||1846||1847||1||1||Whig|
|12||10||James H. Woodworth||1848||1850||2||2||None|
|14||11||Walter S. Gurnee||1851||1853||2||2||Democratic|
|15||12||Charles McNeill Gray||1853||1854||1||1||Democratic|
|16||13||Isaac L. Milliken||1854||1855||1||1||Democratic|
|20||17||John C. Haines||1858||1860||2||2||Democratic|
|22||18||Julian S. Rumsey||1861||1862||1||1||Republican|
|23||(5)||Francis C. Sherman||1862||1865||2||2||Democratic|
|24||19||John B. Rice||1865||1869||2||4||Republican|
|25||20||Roswell B. Mason||1869||1871||1||2||Citizens|
|26||21||Joseph Medill||1871||1873||1||2||Republican (Dry)|
| Lester L. Bond |
(acting mayor pro temp)
|27||22||Harvey Doolittle Colvin||1873||1875||1||2||Republican (Wet)|
|29||24||Carter Harrison Sr.||1879||1887||4||8||Democratic|
|30||25||John A. Roche||1887||1889||1||2||Republican|
|31||26||DeWitt C. Cregier||1889||1891||1||2||Democratic|
|33||(24)||Carter Harrison Sr. †||1893||1893||1⁄4||1⁄2||Democratic|
|34||28|| George Bell Swift |
|35||29||John P. Hopkins||1893||1895||2⁄3||3||Democratic|
|36||(28)||George Bell Swift||1895||1897||1||2||Republican|
|37||30||Carter Harrison Jr.||1897||1905||4||8||Democratic|
|38||31||Edward F. Dunne||1905||1907||1||2||Democratic|
|39||32||Fred A. Busse||1907||1911||1||4||Republican|
|40||(30)||Carter Harrison Jr.||1911||1915||1||4||Democratic|
|41||33||William H. Thompson||1915||1923||2||8||Republican|
|42||34||William E. Dever||1923||1927||1||4||Democratic|
|43||(33)||William H. Thompson||1927||1931||1||4||Republican|
|44||35||Anton Cermak †||1931||1933||1⁄2||2||Democratic|
|45||36|| Frank J. Corr |
|46||37||Edward J. Kelly||1933||1947||3 1⁄2||14||Democratic|
|47||38||Martin H. Kennelly||1947||1955||2||8||Democratic|
|48||39||Richard J. Daley †||1955||1976||5 3⁄8||21||Democratic|
|49||40||Michael A. Bilandic||1976||1979||5⁄8||2 1⁄3||Democratic|
|51||42||Harold Washington †||1983||1987||1 1⁄8||4 7⁄12||Democratic|
|52||43|| David Orr |
|53||44||Eugene Sawyer||1987||1989||17⁄48||1 1⁄2||Democratic|
|54||45||Richard M. Daley||1989||2011||5 1⁄2||22||Democratic 1|
|55||46||Rahm Emanuel||2011||2019||2||8||Democratic 1|
|56||47||Lori Lightfoot||Mayor-elect||Democratic 1|
† Deceased/murdered in office.
1 Since 1999, mayoral elections have officially been nonpartisan. A 1995 Illinois law stipulated that "candidates for mayor . . . no longer would run under party labels in Chicago." However, Richard M. Daley, Rahm Emanuel and Lori Lightfoot are known to be Democrats.
As of 2018, four mayors of Chicago are still living, the oldest of whom is Richard M. Daley. –1983), on November 14, 2014. The most recently serving mayor to have died, however, was Eugene Sawyer (1987–1989), on January 19, 2008.The most recent former mayor to die was Jane Byrne (1979
|Name||Mayoral term||Date of birth|
|David Orr||November 1987 – December 1987||October 4, 1944|
|Richard M. Daley||1989–2011||April 24, 1942|
|Rahm Emanuel||2011–2019||November 29, 1959|
|Lori Lightfoot||Mayor-elect||August 6, 1962|
Rahm Israel Emanuel is an American politician serving as the 55th mayor of Chicago since 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the 23rd White House Chief of Staff from 2009 to 2010, and as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Chicago between 2003 and 2009.
William Michael "Bill" Daley is an American lawyer, politician and former banker. He served as White House Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, from January 2011 to January 2012. He also served as U.S. Secretary of Commerce, from 1997 to 2000, under President Bill Clinton. He has also served on the executive committee of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Daley was a candidate for Governor of Illinois in the 2014 gubernatorial election, until dropping out of the race on September 16, 2013. He ran in the 2019 Chicago mayoral election but came in third in the first-round voting, and did not advance to the runoff.
David Duvall Orr is an American Democratic politician who served as the County Clerk of Cook County from 1990 to 2018. Orr was an Alderman of the 49th Ward in Chicago, Illinois from February 23, 1979 until December 10, 1990. From November 25, 1987 until December 2, 1987, Orr served as Mayor of Chicago after the death of Harold Washington on November 25, 1987. Orr retired from the office of Cook County Clerk in 2018, opting not to run for an eighth term.
Michael Anthony Bilandic was an American Illinois politician who served as the 49th mayor of Chicago, Illinois, after the death of then-mayor Richard J. Daley, from December 20, 1976, until April 16, 1979. Bilandic was a Democrat and a Croatian-American who also served as Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court some years after his tenure as Chicago mayor. Bilandic practiced law in Chicago for several years, having graduated from the DePaul University College of Law. Bilandic served as an alderman in the Chicago City Council, representing the eleventh ward on the south-west side from June 1969 until he began his tenure as mayor in December 1976.
Richard F. "Dick" Mell is an American politician. A Democrat, he served on the Chicago City Council from 1975 to 2013. He retired in 2013 and was succeeded by Deb Mell, his daughter.
Forrest Edward Claypool is an American politician who has held several positions in the governments of Chicago, Cook County, and the State of Illinois. He was the Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools from July 27, 2015, until December 8, 2017. Previous offices held by Claypool include Superintendent of the Chicago Park District from 1993 to 1998, Chief of Staff to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and President of the Chicago Transit Authority. In 2007–2008, Claypool served as a key member of Barack Obama campaign's media team, in his capacity as a longtime partner of David Axelrod.
Politics in Chicago through most of the 20th century was dominated by the Democratic Party. Organized crime and corruption were persistent concerns in the city.
Timothy C. Evans is an American attorney, politician, former alderman and the current Chief Judge of the Cook County Circuit Court. Evans is noted as the first African-American Chief Judge of the Cook County Circuit Court. A graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Evans was first elected to the bench in 1992.
Miguel del Valle is an American politician and the former City Clerk of Chicago. He was an Illinois State Senator for two decades, representing the 2nd District of Chicago from 1987–2006. Del Valle lost his bid for mayor in Chicago's February 22, 2011 municipal elections, coming in third with 53,953 votes.
The city of Chicago, Illinois held a nonpartisan mayoral election on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. Incumbent Mayor Richard M. Daley, a member of the Democratic Party who had been in office since 1989, did not seek a seventh term as mayor. This was the first election since 1947 in which an incumbent mayor of Chicago did not seek reelection.
Gery J. Chico is an American politician, Chicago lawyer, public official and former Democratic primary candidate for United States Senate.
An election took place on February 24, 2015, to elect the mayor of Chicago. The election was non-partisan and no candidate received a majority. A runoff election was held between the top two finishers on April 7, 2015, and resulted in the reelection of incumbent mayor Rahm Emanuel. The elections were concurrent with the 2015 Chicago aldermanic elections.
The Chicago mayoral election of 1983 was first the primary on February 22, 1983 which was followed by the general on April 12, 1983. The election saw the election of Chicago, Illinois' first African-American mayor, Harold Washington. Incumbent Mayor Jane Byrne, who had served since April 1979 had lost renomination in the Democratic primary in a three–way race between herself, then–Congressman Washington, and then–State's Attorney Richard M. Daley in February 1983. Washington would face off against Republican nominee Benard Epton, winning with a 3.7% lead over Epton in the general election. As of 2019, this is the last election in which a Republican was on the ballot.
Jesús G. "Chuy" García is a Mexican-born American politician and member of the Democratic Party. He is the member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois's 4th district, serving since January 3, 2019. Prior to his election to the House, he served on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, the Illinois State Senate, and Chicago City Council.
The 2019 Chicago mayoral election was the 2019 edition of the quadrennial elections held to determine the Mayor of the city of Chicago, Illinois. The election was held on February 26, 2019. Since no candidate received a majority of votes, a runoff election was held on April 2, 2019 between the two candidates with the most votes, Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle. Lightfoot defeated Preckwinkle in the runoff election, becoming mayor-elect of Chicago. Lightfoot is scheduled to take office on May 20, 2019.
Anna M. Valencia is an American public official who serves as the City Clerk of Chicago. Valencia was sworn into office on January 25, 2017. She was elected to a full term as City Clerk in February 2019.
Lori Elaine Lightfoot is an American politician who was elected Mayor of Chicago in 2019. She has worked in private legal practice as a partner at Mayer Brown and held various government positions in the City of Chicago, most notably as former President of the Chicago Police Board and chair of the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force. She is a member of the Democratic Party.
Chicago has held regularly-scheduled popular elections to select the city's mayor ever since it was incorporated as a city in 1837.
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