Chicago City Council Profile: Emma Mitts

Emma Mitts rose through the ranks of city government to reach the council.

By Michael Kaplan
|  Monday, Dec 12, 2011  |  Updated 2:08 PM CDT
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Chicago City Council Profile: Emma Mitts


Emma Mitts joined the city council in 2001.


A pioneer among African-American women, Emma Mitts fights for the underdog. A mainstay in 37th Ward politics, Mitts has had the support of her constituents since she was appointed alderman by former Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2001. She currently chairs the council's Committee on License and Consumer Protection.

Mitts was born in Elaine, Ark. to family that included 15 children. When she came to Chicago she was employed as a parking aide through the Department of Revenue. Over time, she was promoted to Coordinator of Special Projects with the Bureau of Street Operations and then worked for several years with the Mayor's workforce Development Program. Mitts served as a CAPS facilitator and Sunday school instructor.

The Ward:

The West Side ward includes the communities of Austin and Belmont Cragin. A former manufacturing powerhouse in the city, the 37th is now one of the more impoverished wards. High crime rates and high unemployment frequently plagues the area.

The Office:
Mitts has faced an uphill battle in trying to bring jobs to the 37th. She brought the first Walmart to the city in 2006 and since then the ward has seen a flurry of commercial development including Menard's, CVS, Aldi and Food-4-Less.

License and Consumer Protection, Chair
The Budget and Government Operations
Committees, Rules and Ethics
Economic, Capital and Technology Development
Health and Environmental Protection
Public Safety
Pedestrian and Traffic Safety
Workforce Development and Audit

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