Known as a pioneer for political reform, governmental transparency and democratic governance, Joe Moore has represented Chicago’s 49th Ward since 1991. Encompassing the majority of Chicago’s Rogers Park community and a portion of the West Ridge community, the 49th Ward is one of the nation’s most economically and racially diverse communities.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1958, and raised in Oak Lawn and Evanston, Illinois, Moore has lived in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood since 1980. He has two sons, Nathan (28) and Zachary (21). Moore’s wife, Barbara, contributes a great amount of volunteer time to the 49th Ward community, including as a founding member and former chair of the Glenwood Sunday Market Board of Directors.
Moore graduated from Evanston Township High School in 1976, earned a B.A. from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois in 1980, and received a J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1984.
From 1984 to 1991, Moore worked as an attorney in the City of Chicago’s Department of Law, first in the department’s Appeals Division, where he argued cases before the Illinois Appellate Court, the Illinois Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and later in the department’s Affirmative Litigation Division, where he worked to recover millions of dollars on behalf of the City’s taxpayers.
Moore won re-election in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and most recently in 2015, when he received 67% of the vote. He is chairman of the City Council Committee on Housing and Real Estate, which oversees City housing policy and all transactions involving City-owned real estate. Moore also serves on the following City Council committees: Budget and Government Operations; Education and Child Development; Finance; Health and Environmental Protection; Human Relations; Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation; and Rules and Ethics.
Moore was a pioneer in the effort to bring community policing to Chicago. Under his leadership, the 49th Ward was selected as one of the first areas of the city to host a community policing pilot project, which resulted in a 54% reduction in serious crime over a 20-year period. Moore also gained national renown as a leader in the fight for living wages and sponsored the landmark “Big Box Living Wage Ordinance,” which required large retail stores to pay their employees a wage sufficient to keep a family of four out of poverty. The ordinance was a precursor to Chicago’s minimum wage ordinance, which guarantees all workers in Chicago a wage of at least $13 an hour indexed to inflation.
Most recently, Moore became the first elected official to bring “participatory budgeting“ to the United States. Each year, Moore turns over $1 million of his discretionary capital budget to a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making in which his constituents decide through direct vote how to allocate his budget. Moore’s participatory budgeting model has since been adopted by eight of his Chicago City Council colleagues, as well as in 16 other U.S. cities, including New York City, Seattle, Boston, San Francisco and Vallejo, California.