The first woman to represent the 41st Ward, Mary E. O'Connor replaced 20-year incumbent Brian Doherty. But it wasn't easy. O'Connor eeked by her challenger, Maurita Gavin, in a May runoff. Gavin had the endorsement of Doherty, too.
Now the restaurant-owner-turned-alderman has taken her experience as head of the Edison Park Chamber of Commerce to City Hall.
The 53-year-old alderman grew up on the Northwest Side and graduated with a business degree from Eastern Illinois University. As former six-term president of the Edison Park Chamber of Commerce, O'Connor presided over the rejuvenation of the community's downtown. She was elected 41st Ward Democratic Committeman in 2008 and also owns an Edison Park catering company and deli.
A sprawling ward in the most northwestern part of the city, the 41st wends its way from I-94 to O'Hare. It includes Edison Park, Norwood Park, and Edgebroook, but the ward's most dominant institution is the airport itself. Chock-full of leafy middle class neighborhoods, the ward is home to a population with a strong Irish ancestry.
O'Connor has pledged to fight plans to relocate Chicago police officers from the 41st to areas with higher crime. Her other priorities include more money for schools and encouraging travelers to take advantage of the restaurants and businesses near O'Hare.
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