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Lincoln Park, Old Town

List To Replace Lincoln Park Ald. Michele Smith Includes Powerful Zoning Board Chairman

Mayor Lori Lightfoot now has to appoint a new 43rd Ward alderperson. See the list of 17 applicants here.

Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) at a City Council meeting in February 2020.
Colin Boyle/ Block Club Chicago
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LINCOLN PARK — Ald. Michele Smith’s last day is Friday, and 17 people have applied to take her City Council seat representing the 43rd Ward, including the chair of the city’s powerful Zoning Board of Appeals.

Smith announced last month she’d be resigning after 11 years because of “deepening responsibilities toward family and friends,” making her the fourth City Council member to announce they will not run for re-election next year. Alds. Harry Osterman (48th), James Cappleman (46th) and Carrie Austin (34th) have also said they will step down in 2023.

Lightfoot opened applications to replace Smith and appointed a committee to review applicants and recommend a replacement — the same system used to fill vacancies left by convicted former Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) and former Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) whom Lightfoot appointed to serve on the Board of Education. In those cases, Lightfoot picked United Airline executive Nicole Lee to lead the 11th Ward and Monique Scott, sister of the former alderman, to lead the 24th Ward.

WTTW was the first to report on the 43rd Ward alderman applicants. Here is the full list:

  • Alex Bean
  • Ashley Williams
  • Brian Comer
  • Darren Taylor
  • Isaac Troncoso
  • Jacob Ringer
  • James Kroeger
  • Jill Krawczyszyn
  • Michael Jurecki
  • Norman Hutchinson
  • Paul Kendrick
  • Rebecca Janowitz
  • Steeg Pierce
  • Steve McClellan
  • Tamar Newberger
  • Timothy “Timmy” Knudsen
  • Wendy Taylor Nations

Knudsen, who’s spent the last several years living in Old Town and Lincoln Park, is Lightfoot’s handpicked chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Comer is president of the Sheffield Neighborhood Association, while Taylor is a local firefighter. Ringer, Janowitz and McClellan all are 43rd Ward residents who ran for alderperson against Smith in 2019. Tamar Newberger is a computer scientist, executive and wife of former U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic.

The City Council must appoint a replacement by Oct. 12, according to WTTW. Nominating petitions for the Feb. 28, 2023 aldermanic elections are due Nov. 28.

Committee members selecting Smith’s replacement include Ald. Michelle Harris (8th); Mary Kenney, head of U.S. public affairs at BMO Financial Group; Tom Kotarac, senior vice president for the Civic Committee; and Faraz Sardharia, president of the Wrightwood Neighbors Association.

Neighbors were also asked to fill out a brief survey about what issues were important to them. The city recorded almost 800 responses with most people citing public safety as their main concern, according to survey results.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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