Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Emanuel Chooses Deb Mell To Succeed Father As Alderman




    Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Mell, as the council's first out lesbian, will bring a unique perspective. But not all were convinced she's the right choice. Mary Ann Ahern reports. (Published Wednesday, July 24, 2013)

    Can we get a drum roll …

    The City of Chicago is pleased to introduce your next 33rd Ward alderman.

    Emanuel Introduces Deb Mell as Next 33rd Ward Alderman

    [CHI] Emanuel Introduces Deb Mell as Next 33rd Ward Alderman
    Mayor Rahm Emanuel picked State Rep. Deborah Mell to fill the seat of her father, Richard Mell, as Chicago alderman. Emanuel said it would have been unfair not to appoint her because of her last name. (Published Wednesday, July 24, 2013)

    It’s Deborah Mell, daughter of Richard Mell, the guy who just resigned his seat after one of the longest tenures in the City Council.


    Outgoing Ald. Dick Mell Faces the Media

    [CHI] Outgoing Ald. Dick Mell Faces the Media
    The political powerhouse shares stories about his long career and answers questions about his daughter. (Published Friday, July 5, 2013)

    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel chose State Rep. Deborah Mell, a political scion, to fill the seat of retiring Ald. Mell, also known as Rod Blagojevich’s father-in-law. The 75-year-old alderman submitted his resignation to Mayor Emanuel in early July after nearly 40 years as a Northwest Side council man.

    "As you know the 33rd ward has been a huge part of my life, and I am honored to represent it," Mell said during the brief Wednesday announcement. "I am ready to serve and work hard on their behalf."

    Mayor: Dick Will be Missed

    [CHI] Mayor: Dick Will be Missed
    Mayor Rahm Emanuel reacts to the announcement that Ald. Dick Mell would soon retire from the Chicago City Council after nearly four decades of service. (Published Wednesday, July 3, 2013)

    Emanuel said he would entertain all qualified candidates for the seat and that Deborah Mell wouldn’t be a shoo-in. Emanuel promised a “blue ribbon” commission to find the best replacement possible.

    In the end, Chicago’s mayor chose nepotism.

    "It would be equally unfair to her and the city just to not appoint her because of her last name," Emanuel said Wednesday.

    "When she takes a position that she thinks is right she speaks up for it," he said. "That is a model of what a representative should do."

    Deborah Mell will become the council’s first openly gay woman.  

    She said earlier this year that her only regret for jumping from the legislature to the council would come from not being able to vote on a Same-Sex Marriage bill for

    She has represented Illinois’ 40th district since 2008 in the state legislature. In 2009 she cast the only vote opposing the impeachment of her brother-in-law Rod Blagojevich. 

    "I promise to work with the other alderman and the mayor to make Chicago a better place for everyone," she said.