Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. announces retirement from City Council at end of term

CHICAGO (CBS)– Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st) on Wednesday announced he will retire at the end of his term, joining a still-growing exodus from the Chicago City Council.

Brookins, whose ward includes parts of the Chatham, Auburn Gresham, Longwood Manor, Washington Heights, and Brainerd neighborhoods, chairs the City Council Transportation Committee, and has been in office since 2003.

"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 a statement. "I am thankful for having the trust of my community as we worked together to provide greater economic opportunity and prosperity for our people."  

Brookins touted a number of accomplishments while in office, including the ward’s first Starbucks, the launch of the city’s electric scooter program, and the establishment of a reparations fund for victims of notorious former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, whose crew of detectives tortured suspects into false murder confessions in the 1970s and 1980s.

"I will remain politically active and available for guidance and counsel, particularly for young Democrats who will bring our ward and our city into a more just future," Brookins said. "I have faith in their leadership and history shows us that the Black movement works best when the new generation takes over at the right time. I believe now is that time, at least for our community here in the 21st ward."   

Brookins is now the 14th member of the City Council to either step down mid-term since the 2019 city elections, or to announce they won’t seek re-election in 2023. This will make for the biggest City Council turnover in almost 80 years.

Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th), Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th), Ald. Harry Osterman (48th), Ald. James Cappleman (46th), and indicted Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) also plan to retire at the end of their terms next year.

Ald. Michele Smith resigned last month, and Lightfoot is still weighing candidates to replace her. Former Ald. Michael Scott (24th) stepped down in June, and already has been replaced with his sister, Monique. Former Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) stepped down in February after he was convicted of federal tax charges, and has been replaced by Nicole Lee. 

Ald. George Cardenas (12th) likely will exit before the end of the year if, as expected, he is elected to serve on the Cook County Board of Review. 

Three other alderpersons are giving up their City Council seats to launch bids to challenge Lightfoot next year, including Ald. Sophia King (4th), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), and Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th).

Four other current city council members ran for other elected offices in 2022, but were defeated in the June primary elections, meaning they will stay in their seats on the City Council for now: Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) and Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) both ran for seats as a Cook County judge, and Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) and Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) both ran for Congress.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Ald. Nicholas Sposato (38th) have both predicted more departures from the City Council are yet to come. 

Sposato earlier this week told CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov he believes Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th) also is done, although Reboyras has yet to announce any plans to step down.

News,Region: Chicago,City: Chicago

via Local News – CBS Chicago

September 7, 2022 at 09:45AM

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