Daley appoints 2 new aldermen

March 26, 2010 2:27:50 PM PDT
Mayor Daley announced his two choices to fill vacant City Council seats Monday. The mayor selected State Representative Deborah Graham to replace former alderman Isaac Carothers in the 29th Ward and Joe Moreno to replace former alderman Manny Flores in the 1st Ward.

The appointments come after the mayor sent out a call for applications from the public for the positions.

The mayor apparently finalized his decisions over the weekend after making public the aldermanic applications last Friday. One of the appointees is a longtime politician and City Hall insider, while the other is a North Side community activist:

Proco "Joe" Moreno is a 14-year resident of the 1st Ward, local school council member, small businessman and former state senate candidate.

"My commitment to the ward is unwavering. I'm excited about the opportunity to serve 1st Ward residents as true public servant," said Moreno.

Deborah Graham is a state representative whose district includes parts of the 29th Ward. She also works as special projects coordinator in the city's department of planning and development.

"I look forward to working with the mayor on issues I have championed in Springfield, like gun control, HIV and Aids prevention, and early childhood education," said Graham.

Graham will replace Isaac Carothers, who resigned after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges, and Moreno will finish the term of Manny Flores, who was appointed director of the Illinois Commerce Commission. The two were selected from among 44 candidates who applied online and were eventually interviewed by the mayor.

"This is very, very interesting for me to meet many people who are interviewing, and talking to them, and inviting people back twice and listening to them as well," said Mayor Daley.

Graham told a personal story, how she was an abused wife and homeless just 20 years ago.

"Before going to the shelter, I simply had a rough time. I had to make a decision to stay here and die or get up and live," Graham said.

Moreno and Graham are the 34th and 35th aldermanic appointments for a variety of reasons made by Daley during his 20-plus years as mayor.

ABC 7 asked Moreno how he would maintain his independence on the council given the fact he owed his membership to the mayor. That's when Daley stepped in to answer for Moreno before the appointee responded.

"If you have an effective City Council, no one does my bidding. I do my own bidding. He won't do my bidding. He will represent this community constituency. He will differ with me or agree with me. Fine. Then you move on," said Mayor Daley.

"If I'm going to do anybody's bidding, it will be for the 1st Ward residents, period. I think the mayor respects that," said Moreno.

The City Council must approve the appointments. Both Moreno and Graham are expected to be confirmed without any problem.