I am pleased to report Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has recommended to the City Council that I be appointed Chairman the City Council Committee on Human Relations.
The City Council unanimously co-sponsored the reorganization ordinance proposed by the new mayor’s floor leader, Alderman Pat O’Connor, thus ensuring its passage at the first meeting of the new Council on May 18th.
The Human Relations Committee has jurisdiction over all matters related to human rights and the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, as well as all matters affecting military veterans. This new position will give me a powerful platform to promote Chicago’s diversity and work to eliminate the remaining vestiges of prejudice and discrimination in our city. The Chicago Human Rights Ordinance and the Chicago Fair Housing Ordinance, which prohibit discrimination within the City of Chicago in the areas of housing, employment and accommodations, fall within my new Committee’s purview.
My years governing the most racially and economically diverse ward in the city make this new committee chairmanship a perfect fit for me. I look forward to the challenges ahead as we work to make Chicago the most fair and inclusive city on earth.
I especially appreciate the new Mayor’s confidence in me. As the fourth most senior member of the City Council, I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. His support of my appointment underscores his commitment to reach out to all factions of the City Council as we work together to confront the monumental challenges facing our city.
I appeared last night on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight show and spoke of the desire we all share in the City Council to “hit the reset button.” As the U.S Attorney and the federal court drive the final nails in the political patronage coffin, and as we all acknowledge the need to change the way we do business in Chicago government, the old labels of “reform aldermen” vs. “machine aldermen” and “independents” vs. “regulars” lose much of their relevance. That is not to say we won’t have sharp disagreements and robust debate in City Hall, but it will be based more on the issues rather than pre-assigned roles.
As always, I will provide you with regular City Council reports to keep you up to date on the happenings at City Hall. These are very exciting and challenging times.