Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Chicago City Council: Leslie A. Hairston

Alderman of the 5th Ward

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Chicago City Council: Leslie A. Hairston

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Ald. Leslie A. Hairston beat out incumbent Barbara Holt to secure the 5th Ward spot. She has maintained the office for more than 12 years and uses her life-long experience in public service and law to promote the South Shore area and fight for what she calls progressive policies.

Background: Ald. Hairston was born and raised in the ward she now works in. Her mother was a Chicago Public School educator and principal. Her father was a business man and the first African American to own and operate a McDonald's restaurant. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin and Loyola University of Law. As a lawyer, she started a private practice before later litigating for the Illinois Attorney's Appellate Prosecutor's office. Hairston was a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois. She has served on numerous advisory councils and boards for issues ranging from mental health to safety.

The Ward: The 5th Ward is home to sections of Hyde Park, South Lake Shore and Jackson Park. The ward is mostly African American and is known for its rich heritage. The South Shore Cultural Center, a former country club that lured the rich and famous to the South Shore, is located in the 5th ward. The center is also the site of President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's wedding reception.

The Office: Ald. Hairston focuses on building and growth projects in the 5th Ward. She approved a $162 million reconstruction of South Lake Shore Drive. She has worked to allure retailers and new shopping districts, and broke ground on libraries, youth centers, college prep high schools, hospitals and a Ronald McDonald house. In April 2011, she sparked controversy when she refused to approve the sale or lease of city assets. She also called for a moratorium on Chicago privatization deals of parking meters. Hairston is the Vice-Chair of the Economic, Capital and Technology Development Committee.

Committees:
Budget and Government Operations
Committees, Rules and Ethics
Economic, Capital and Technology Development (Vice-Chair)
Finance
Health and Environmental Protection
Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation
Joint Committee on Economic, Capital, and Technology Development and Health and Environmental Protection

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