Rahm Emanuel

Aldermen Jockey for Position in Race to Become Aviation Chairman

The new leader will be tasked with overseeing an $8.5 billion overhaul at O'Hare

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel participated in a ceremony celebrating the opening of new gates at O’Hare Friday, and several alderman who joined him are hoping that he can open doors to a very important position.

Alderman Michael Zalewski, currently the Chairman of the Aviation Committee for the City Council, is retiring at the end of the month, and several candidates have already been jockeying for position in an effort to replace him.

The job comes with some big-time responsibilities, as the new chairman will oversee an $8.5 billion overhaul at O’Hare.

Alderman Nick Sposato is one of the candidates that’s already met with the mayor, and he was one of the dignitaries that was with the mayor during Friday’s unveiling.

“I’m all for pushing everything forward and continuing the progress we’ve made,” he said. “I live the closest to the airport. I’m the hardest worker. There are a lot of reasons I would be the best choice.”

Another name that can be added to the list is Alderman Pat Dowell, who is currently a member of the Aviation Committee.

“I’m a member of the committee already, and I’m happy to be serving on it,” she said. “Like I said, it’s the mayor’s choice and we’ll see what he does.”

Alderman Ray Lopez, who once worked as a skycap at Midway Airport, is looking to get the chairmanship so that he can bring more jobs to his ward in an effort to fight crime.

“One of the best ways to combat violence in our communities is to ensure these opportunities, and some of those 60,000 jobs, make it to the south, southwest, and west sides of the city,” he said.

Several other alderman have been mentioned as candidates, including Rick Munoz and Joe Moreno.

As for Mayor Emanuel, who is beginning to gear up for what could be a contentious re-election fight, he hasn’t tipped his hand yet, but traditionally the choice as the chairman is one whose ward has a connection to one of the area’s airports.

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