Chicago City Council: Michelle A. Harris

8th Ward Alderman Michelle A. Harris

Michelle Harris knows a thing or two about the South Side of Chicago.

The 8th Ward Alderman grew up and attended school on the South Side. She later would serve in several City of Chicago positions before obtaining the 8th Ward seat in 2006. She has held the office for more than four years, but was under criticism for appearing to be too strong of a Daley supporter.

Background: Ald. Harris attended high school at Chicago Vocational High School. She later received her bachelor's degree from Chicago State University. Harris followed a path to public service and government administration completing over 20 years in politics. She was Chief of Staff under Ald. Lorraine Dixon, 8th Ward Streets and Sanitation Superintendent and Secretary to the Cook County Board of Commissioners. She is active on groups such as the Foundation of Jackson Park Hospital and the Southeast Calumet Heights Homeowners Association. She was appointed to 8th Ward Alderman after Todd Stroger was elected to President of the Cook County Board.

The Ward: The 8th Ward is comprises the following neighborhoods: Calumet Heights, Burnside and parts of Roseland. The ward is mostly residential, consisting of middle class African Americans. The ward hopes to attract more business and commercial developments. 

The Office: Many criticize Ald. Harris for being a protege of former Ald. Todd Stroger. While she was hand picked by Stroger, Harris has fought off possible opponents in her four years as alderman. Harris is an activist for senior citizens establishing new senior housing. She also works to expand jobs, such as working to have A. Finkl & Sons establish a new manufacturing facility in the area. She is also a big proponent for safety, attending over 200 CAPS meetings. Harris is the current President Pro Tempore for Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Budget and Government Operations
Committee, Rules and Ethics
Health and Environmental Protection
Pedestrian and Traffic Safety
Public Safety
Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation
Workforce Development and Audit (Vice-Chair)
Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards
Joint Committee Economic, Capital and Technology and Health and Environmental Protection

Information Provided By: City of Chicago website, Office of City Clerk and

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