According to an article from the Chicago Sun-Times on Monday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that he had finally chosen a candidate to fill Ald. Sandi Jackson's 7th Ward seat in the Chicago City Council. The mayor handpicked Natashia Lynette Holmes, a former manager at the Illinois Department of Transportation and one of the dozens of people who applied for the vacated seat. Jackson resigned from her position in light of her husband's, Jesse Jackson Jr., ongoing legal and mental health issues and after coming under a federal investigation herself.
Here are some facts and details about the appointment and about Holmes' professional background:
* After Sandi Jackson left her seat in the City Council in mid-January, the city called for applications to fill her vacated seat and received 65 applications, 53 of which were eligible, noted NBC Chicago.
* Jackson was given the opportunity to recommend successors to replace her, but the mayor made the final decision.
* This marks the first time Mayor Emanuel has made an aldermanic appointment during his time as Chicago's mayor.
* A committee interviewed eligible applicants are narrowed down the pool to only a few individuals. During the process, Mayor Emanuel emphasized that he wanted to choose someone with a record of "community involvement."
* Holmes stood out as a candidate due to her role as a former school board member and her focus on tackling crime and education problems in the 7th Ward.
* Additionally, the mayor sought to avoid any candidates with ties to the political groups that had dominated 7th Ward politics over the past several decades.
* WBEZ reported that the committee was composed of five members selected by the mayor himself and included City Council President Pro Tempore Michelle Harris; Susan Motley, a community leader; Echelle Mohn, a 7th Ward resident and founder of EMUJ Network; Felicia Davis, Executive Director of the Mayor's Office of Public Engagement; and Rev. Marrion Johnson Sr., a local religious leader.
* Holmes served as a special projects manager at IDOT, but left the state agency last year. She currently works as a project manager for Metro Strategies Inc., a firm based in Glen Ellyn, Ill.
* She also has three educational degrees. Holmes received B.S. from Alabama State University, a Master's degree in community planning from Auburn University, and her law degree from Kent College of Law. She plans to take the bar exam this month, according to a city press release.
* Commenting on her appointment, Holmes said, "I am very excited about this opportunity and I look forward to doing my best to represent the needs, interests, and aspirations of the people of the seventh ward. We have a lot of opportunity ahead of us and I believe that by working together we can create a brighter future for everyone."
Rachel Bogart provides an in-depth look at current environmental issues and local Chicago news stories. Currently pursuing her master's degree in environmental science, she applies her knowledge and passion to both topics to garner further public awareness.