Chicago City Council Profile: Tom Tunney

The city's first openly gay alderman has presided over the 44th ward since 2003.

By Michael Kaplan
|  Tuesday, Dec 6, 2011  |  Updated 1:25 PM CDT
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Chicago City Council Profile: Tom Tunney

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There's a lot happening in Tom Tunney's 44th ward. For eight years the restaurant-owner-turned-alderman, and Chicago's first openly-gay council member has watched it all go down.

Recently Tunney has introduced sweeping zoning reforms for the mixed-business-residential ward, which includes the historic Wrigley Field.

Background:
Tunney grew up on the city's Southwest Side and attended the University of Illinois. He established his presence in the North Side ward after he purchased Ann Sather's, a Lakeview restaurant famouse for its cinnamon buns, and turned it into a succesful expanded chain. He served as chairman of the Illinois Restaurant Association and was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1995. He has served as the 44th Ward's Alderman since 2003.

The Ward:
Nestled between Irving Park Road and Diversey on the city's North Side the 44th includes the Wrigleyville and Boystown neighborhoods, two major tourist destinations. The ward is prosperous and jam-packed, and Tunney deals with issues ranging from the rooftops at Wrigley to stoplight patterns to alleviate traffic in his ward.

The Office:
Tunney ran unopposed in 2011. He was recently appointed to chair the council's Committee on Economic Development, Capital and Technology.

Currently, Tunney must deal with an uptick in crime within concentrations of restaurants and nightlife. Three stabbings in Boystown over the summer prompted outrage and demands for new safety measures in the community.

Committees:
Economic Development, Capital and Technology- Chairman
Rules and Ethics
Finance
Health and Environmental Protection
License and Consumer Protection
Workforce Development and Audit
Zoning, Landmarks and Buildings Standards

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