Chicago mayoral candidate Bill Daley wants the state to rename the Dan Ryan Expressway for former President Barack Obama, Daley’s onetime boss at the White House.
Daley worked as Obama’s chief of staff for a year starting in January 2011, leaving a year later as part of a shake-up meant to improve the White House’s operations and its dealings with legislative leaders.
“Our Chicago expressways are named for towering figures in our history: Kennedy, Eisenhower, Stevenson,” Daley said in the statement. “We should have one for Obama, who is the only President from Chicago and led the nation through the second-worst economic crisis in our history.”
Daley called on state lawmakers to make the change next year.
Illinois already has a Barack Obama Presidential Expressway, a stretch of about 80 miles of Interstate 55 from the southwest suburbs to Downstate Pontiac. That renaming effort was led by state Rep. LaShawn Ford, another Chicago mayoral candidate. Signs for the road were unveiled quietly in March.
Still, Daley said “renaming the highway for President Obama will be a daily reminder for all of us that America’s first African-American president was shaped by Chicago.”
The Dan Ryan Expressway was named after Dan Ryan Jr., president of the Cook County Board, who died in office in 1961. Ryan’s wife, Ruby, served out his term on the board and was among the commissioners who voted to approve the name change.
Daley’s statement says a Cook County forest preserve is already named for Ryan. But stories in the Tribune archives suggest the Dan Ryan Woods preserve was named for Ryan’s father, Dan Ryan, who also served on the Cook County Board.
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December 21, 2018 at 01:15PM