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Ald. Michael Scott, Key Lightfoot Ally On West Side, Resigns

Scott told Block Club he's leaving to pursue other endeavors and spend more time with his family. He's been in office seven years.

Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) smiles after the Black Caucus endorses Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx on March 12, 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

UPDATE: Ald. Michael Scott Jr. announced later Tuesday that he will join Cinespace Chicago, the center of Chicago’s TV and film industries. Read more here.

CHICAGO — Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) has resigned from his City Council post after seven years in office.

Scott told Block Club he’s leaving to pursue other endeavors and spend more time with his family. June 3 will be his last day on the job. He later announced he would join movie studio Cinespace as its Director of Industry and Community Relations.

Scott said he’s enjoyed “every moment” of serving the 24th Ward, which includes North Lawndale and parts of parts of West Garfield Park and South Austin on the city’s West Side. But over the course of the pandemic, he’s realized he wants to prioritize his family.

“I was just talking to Ald. [Anthony] Beale and we were talking about families, and the rigors of the job … doesn’t leave much time for our family,” Scott said. “I’ve enjoyed every moment of serving the community that has given me so much … but it would be selfish of me not to pursue this opportunity and spend a little more time with my children and wife.”

Scott has a teenage daughter and two young sons. His wife, Natashee, was pregnant with his son when he campaigned for his first term.

“I’ve been an alderman his entire life,” Scott said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot has 60 days to name a replacement to Scott’s post. Scott said he expects a “couple of folks” from his organization will apply to be appointed.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said.

Interested candidates must live in the 24th ward for at least one year prior to being appointed, Lightfoot’s office said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

“This candidate must be able to speak to and advocate for the unique needs of the communities they will represent, as well as possess the lived experiences necessary to connect with their residents,” Lightfoot said. “I am committed to finding this person through an open and transparent process, as the residents of the 24th ward deserve no less.”

Scott has been a key ally to Lightfoot, and during his run as alderman, City Hall poured unprecedented public dollars into developments within his ward.

Notably, the Silver Shovel project at Roosevelt and Kostner became a focal project of the mayor’s signature INVEST South/West initiative. The once-toxic dump is being redeveloped into a $38 million manufacturing complex and innovation center aimed at being an economic engine for North Lawndale after decades of neglect.

Other large investments ushered into North Lawndale under Scott’s tenure include the Grace Manor affordable housing project and the Ogden Commons outpatient medical and surgical center, which will include affordable housing, a bank, a children’s museum, a grocery store, restaurants and retail space.

In his resignation letter, Scott said the 24th Ward has had many wins during his tenure.

“Working alongside the community, the 24th Ward, once dubbed the permanent underclass, is poised for a major renaissance,” he said.

But the ward has experienced a share of losses, too.

“The ongoing challenges with public safety, the pace at which resources reach our community, and the pandemic has all taken its toll. I have personally worked extremely hard to address those issues, and at times to the detriment of my own family,” he wrote.

During his tenure, Scott served three years as chair of City Council’s Education Committee. Before he was elected alderman in 2015, he served worked at the Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools, the Public Building Commission and After School Matters.

Scott is the son of former Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott Sr., an ally of former Mayor Richard Daley who died in 2009.

Those interested in the role can submit applications to aldermanicvacancy@cityofchicago.org or mail applications to City Hall care of the 24th Ward Vacancy Committee by June 7 at 5 p.m.

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