Michele Smith, Chicago alderman for Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Old Town, to retire

ByCraig Wall and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, July 22, 2022
Michele Smith announces retirement from Chicago City Council
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43rd Ward alderman, Michele Smith announced that she will retire from the Chicago City Council and took a moment to look back and explain her reasoning.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There is more change coming to the Chicago City Council: 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith is retiring, effective Aug. 12.

Smith said that her age and her family situation led her to the decision to retire early.

"I'm at a point in my life where I have aging family and friends to whom I have responsibilities and there comes a point in life where I just need to attend to the people I love," Smith said.

Smith's ward includes the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park and Old Town neighborhoods.

"I know I'm gonna miss you all," Smith said at a luncheon in her ward Friday.

RELATED: 24th Ward Alderman Michael Scott Jr. resigns from Chicago City Council to join Cinespace

Smith said in a message to constituents that she served as alderman for 11 years and would not seek a fourth term.

"My decision to retire prior to the completion of this term is a difficult and deeply personal one," she said.

On Friday Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the process to fill Smith's vacancy.

The mayors office said that interested candidates must have lived in the 43rd Ward for at least one year prior to being appointed and demonstrate a passion for public service.

Interested candidates can submit applications to aldermanicvacancy@cityofchicago.org or mail applications to City Hall, care of the 43rd Ward Vacancy Committee. Applications are due by 5 p.m., Aug. 5.

Lightfoot is also seeking input from residents of the 43rd Ward on what their priorities are for their ward and new Alderman. The mayor's office has created a survey for residents to give their feedback.

Smith is the fourth alderman in recent months to say they're leaving council.

She joins Michael Scott who resigned in June, and Patrick Daley Thompson who was forced to quit after his tax fraud conviction.

All three provide Mayor Lightfoot the chance to appoint replacements who will support her agenda.

"It gives her an advantage," ABC7 Political Analyst, Laura Washington said. "She can appoint loyalists to the city council at a time when she's going to really need as many votes as she can from the council,"

In addition to those leaving early, 34th Ward Alderwoman Carrie Austin and 48th Ward Alderman Harry Osterman, as well as 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman, have all said they will not seek re-election next year.

"I think it's very healthy to have changeover. I think it's healthy for this ward, I think it's healthy for me to have a new change," Cappleman said.

Smith's retirement announcement might not be the last. City Hall observers suspect there could be others either retiring early or not seeking re-election next year.