CHICAGO — More than a fourth of the Chicago City Council are new members after being sworn in Monday morning.
They range from alderpeople who have no city government experience at all to those who’ve worked within city hall for years. As all 50 alderpeople swore an oath on Monday, 13 are doing it for the very first time.
46th Ward Alderperson Anglea Clay, 31, is now the youngest member of council. She’s also one of six new women of color and one of at least seven Democratic Socialists on what will be the most progressive city council in Chicago history.
“We’ll see what kind of influence they exert as we look at programs and spending and that sort of thing,” WGN Political Analyst Paul Lisnek said.
Lisnek said it may play well with Mayor Brandon Johnson’s progressive agenda. The key will be to get to 26 votes, including some of the moderates.
Like new 44th Ward alderman Bennett Lawson, who’s long worked in city government and endorsed Paul Vallas in the run off election.
“Will they be able to build a bridge or will they challenge the mayor?” Lisnek said.
“Clearly this mayor is in line with some of the very progressive members of city council but there are some old guard people, Nick Sposato and others who may put up a challenge to this mayor and what he wants.”
In the end, it will be the first 100 days that will be watched closely, as coalitions are built across the council and the power dynamic with the new mayor, who’s exerting power by cutting the number of committees.
“It was supposed to go up to 28, he brought it down to 20 and he’s moving around the leadership of those committees to make sure he’s putting his own people in power,” Lisnek said.
“That’s what a strong mayor does. So what are we in for? A weak city council or a strong city council? We’ll know in the next year or so.”