Chicago City Council

Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. Announces Retirement, Joining Several Others Who Won't Return

Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. announced Wednesday that he will retire from City Council after serving nearly 20 years as alderman of the 21st Ward.

"For the 19 years that I have served alderman of the 21st Ward, I have walked in the footsteps of my father, and I took pride in modeling servant leadership for our beautiful communities,” Brookins said in his announcement. “I am thankful for having the trust of my community as we worked together to provide greater economic opportunity and prosperity for our people. While my decision means new leadership will step into place."

Brookins, who's Ward includes Auburn-Gresham and Washington Heights, says he wants to "hand the baton over to a new generation of leaders who can make sure the movement for racial justice and economic equity is sustained into the new political era."

The 21st Ward alderman says he will finish his work on the Chairman of the Transportation and Public Way committee before retiring at the end of his term.

Brookins now joins a growing list of City Council members who have either announced they will not seek reelection or been forced out of office via criminal indictment in recent years, continuing a significant rate of turnover that will reshape the 2023 municipal elections.

Most recently, Ald. Tom Tunney, who has represented the Lakeview neighborhood for nearly two decades, announced he would be retiring, though he offered no reason behind his decision.

Ald. Leslie Hairston, who has represented the 5th Ward on the City Council since 1999, announced last month that she would not seek reelection. Hairston, long-known for her independence, said that after 24 years in office, she is ready for a new challenge.

Ald. Michele Smith left office earlier this year, and the efforts to name her successor continue.

Ald. Harry Osterman, James Cappleman and George Cardenas all announced that they will not seek reelection, while Ald. Sophia King, Raymond Lopez and Roderick Sawyer will all be running for mayor this winter.

Meanwhile, former 11th Ward Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson was convicted of lying to federal bank regulators and filing false tax returns. He was replaced by Nicole Lee earlier this year.

Ald. Carrie Austin, who represents the 34th Ward, was indicted on bribery charges last year, and announced she will retire from the City Council.

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