Only Ald. Ed Burke has served on the Chicago City Council longer than Ald. Dick Mell, who has been on the Chicago City Council since 1975.
Mell was born and raised in Muskegon, Mich., and later moved to the Logan Square neighborhood in Chicago. He opened a spring manufacturing company and became involved in Chicago politics. Mell started his political career as a precinct captain with the 33rd Ward Regular Democratic Organization. In 1972, Mell ran for Ward committeeman as an Independent, and lost. He remained involved in community organizations in the ward.
The majority of the 33rd ward is made up Albany Park, Avondale and Irving Park. The ward is home to the Addison Under Bridge Bike Path and the Ronan Park Sculpture Garden.
Mell ran for alderman in 1975 and won. In 1976, he became the Ward Committeeman and took a seat on the Democratic Central Committee of Cook County. Mell was elected as Vice Mayor of Chicago and held the office under Mayor Harold Washington until April 1987. During his time in office, he helped set up a program for graffiti court at Belmont and Western, had the first ward to introduce a graffiti van, set new ethnic codes for elected officials, banned spray paint and initiated neighborhood programs to get rid of the city's vacant lots, among other things.
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