nicole lee

Nicole Lee Picked as 11th Ward Alderman, Would Be 1st Asian-American Woman on City Council

If confirmed, Lee would become the first Asian-American woman to serve on Chicago's City Council

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced Nicole Lee as her pick for the next 11th Ward alderman, who is set to replace former Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson.

If confirmed, Lee, who currently serves as director of social impact and community engagement for United Airlines, would become the first Asian-American woman to serve on Chicago's City Council.

“The 11th Ward is a diverse community of hard-working people who embody the grit, love, and neighborhood pride that make Chicago a great city,” Lee said in a statement. “It’s a tremendous honor to receive this appointment to serve my fellow residents of the 11th Ward.”  

Lee is a graduate of Indiana University and has a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Chicago. 

Lightfoot said Lee "is the right choice" to represent the ward in City Council.

“Nicole Lee has spent her life expanding and amplifying 11th ward issues and voices,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “Her dedication to empowering communities and building coalitions is evident in her career and in her involvement in a variety of community organizations."

Lee is scheduled to appear in front of the City Council Committee on Committees and Rules prior to a confirmation vote by the full City Council at a special meeting on March 28. 

“It is exciting and historic that the mayor has appointed the first alderman from the Chinese American community," said State Rep. Theresa Mah, who represents Chinatown and was the first Asian American elected to the Illinois General Assembly. "I know Nicole, and I am confident that she has the right skillset to represent all 11th Ward residents well in the City Council."  

Lightfoot said last month that the city was beginning the process to fill Thompson's vacancy. She said the city was planning for an "open and transparent process to fill the vacancy with a qualified public servant that represents the values of the residents of the 11th Ward and the City of Chicago."

Thompson was found guilty last month of lying to federal regulators and cheating on his tax returns for five years.

Thompson was accused of telling federal regulators that he owed $110,000 on a loan he received from a Bridgeport bank, while the actual total he borrowed was $219,000, according to prosecutors.

Thompson was the first sitting alderperson to face trial on federal charges in more than two decades. He is also the first member of his storied political family to go on trial.

A jury of four men and eight women heard roughly three-and-a-half days of testimony in Thompson’s trial last week, mostly from government witnesses. The trial began nine months after the feds hit Thompson with an indictment charging him with two counts of lying to regulators and five counts of filing false federal income tax returns.

The jury found Thompson guilty on all seven counts.

Contact Us