“I Won't Speak Long. I Only Have a Few Quarters With Me”

Ald. Billy Ocasio departs for job with governor

It's a big day for 26th Ward Alderman Billy Ocasio -- that is, former Alderman Billy Ocasio.

Unlike many Illinois politicians who end up in "The Big House," Oscasio is headed for the State House.

He grew emotional on Wednesday after receiving compliments and praise from his colleagues during his final City Council meeting, and took a jab at Mayor Richard Daley when he finally got a chance to address the chamber.

"Mayor, I won't speak long.  I only have a few quarters with me," said Ocasio, an outspoken critic of the parking meter lease deal.

It drew a big laugh from Daley, whose wife and kids joined him on the dais.

As Ocasio left the chamber with his family, Daley quipped, "He looks happy."

"Of course he does," Ald. Ed Burke (14th) responded.  "He doesn't have to vote on furloughs!"

Daley last week ordered 3,500 nonunion employees to take up to 14 days off without pay by Dec. 31, turning up the heat on union leaders to agree to similar concessions.

Gov. Pat Quinn's office confirmed Tuesday that Ocasio was resigning from the Chicago City Council to accept a job as a senior adviser to the governor.

“I look forward to working with Billy Ocasio,” Quinn said. “All of Illinois will be well-served by his valuable experience in public policy and deep dedication to helping working families.”

In his new position, Ocasio will work closely with Quinn on multiple issues of social justice that impact communities throughout the state, according to a release from Quinn's office.

Ocasio has served the Near Northwest Side for more than 15 years. He serves as the chairman of the Committee on Human Relations and is recommending that Mayor Daley appoint the Rev. Jesus DeJesus to replace him.
In January 1993, Ocasio was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley to complete the unexpired term of Luis Gutierrez, who was elected to Congress the previous fall. Prior to that appointment, Ocasio worked at various non-profit, community-based agencies in the fields of education, affordable housing, youth programs and economic development.

Ocasio is expected to join the governor’s staff in June.

Contact Us