Deborah L. Graham became alderman of the 29th ward at the beginning of 2011 to complete convicted Ald. Issac Carother's term after he pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges.
Graham is a lifelong resident of the Austin Community on Chicago's West Side and volunteered doing community service with her grandmother. Graham graduated with a degree in Business Administration from Robert Morris College. She's a survivor of domestic violence and was a Senior Case Manager at Inner Voice, an organization that helps homeless women who have been abused. She was elected to the Illinois General Assembly in 2002, and was re-elected in 2004, 2006 and 2008.
The 29th ward sits in the Austin neighborhood and is one of Chicago's largest communities. The neighborhood is home to Columbus Park which features a waterfall, lagoons, golf course and prairie-style refectory. The former town hall was made to look like Independence Hall in Philadelphia and is one of the ward's most well-known landmarks.
Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Graham as Alderman in 2010 to complete former Ald. Issac Carother's term. Graham says she is in favor of changes to the pension system for new hires, an increase in the retirement age, an increase in employee contributions and creating a more moderate payment of pension benefits. Graham spent most of her first year in office touring the ward, talking to residents and organizing public meetings on issues of parks and the community's relationship with the police. Job training and affordable housing are priorities for Graham.
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