Lightfoot kicks off competition to replace retiring Ald. Michele Smith (43rd)

One day after Smith’s resignation, the mayor’s office started accepting applications from candidates interested in replacing Smith. The deadline is Aug. 5.

SHARE Lightfoot kicks off competition to replace retiring Ald. Michele Smith (43rd)
Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) speaks during a special session with the casino committee in the City Council chambers in May.

Ald. Michele Smith (43rd)

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times file

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday kicked off the competition for what will be her third appointment to fill a vacant City Council seat.

One day after Lincoln Park Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) announced her decision to retire on Aug. 12, the mayor’s office started accepting applications for candidates interested in replacing Smith and getting a leg up on what is certain to be a crowded field in the Feb. 28 aldermanic election.

Candidates vying to represent Lincoln Park, Old Town and the Gold Coast can apply for the 43rd Ward vacancy either online at or by mailing their applications to the 43rd Ward Vacancy Committee at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St. The deadline for submitting applications is 5 p.m. Aug. 5.

Lightfoot followed a similar process in filling vacancies in the 11th and 24th wards.

When Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th) resigned after being convicted on federal corruption charges, Lightfoot made history by replacing him with Nicole Lee, the first Chinese American to serve on the City Council.

When Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) resigned to accept a job at Cinespace Studios, the mayor chose Monique Scott to fill her brother’s seat.

Smith’s decision to resign speeds the transition to a City Council that promises to be dramatically different in the next term.

Uptown Ald. James Cappleman (46th) is not seeking reelection. Neither are Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) or indicted Ald. Carrie Austin (34th).

Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) is awaiting an Ethics Board ruling on conflicts posed by his law practice before deciding whether to seek reelection after losing a judicial race.

Alderpersons Roderick Sawyer (6th) and Ray Lopez (15th) are giving up their council seats to run for mayor. Ald. Sophia King (4th) may do the same. Ald. George Cardenas (12th), Lightfoot’s deputy floor leader, is leaving after winning a seat on the Cook County Board of Review.

A handful of veteran alderpersons may join the exodus, including indicted Ald. Edward Burke (14th), dean of the council.

In a statement kicking off the 43rd Ward competition, Lightfoot once again hailed Smith, who chairs the City Council’s Ethics Committee, as a “champion for equity and good governance.”

“While I wish her all the best in this next chapter of her life, I look forward to finding the best person possible to represent and serve the 43rd Ward and move our city toward a more equitable future,” the mayor was quoted as saying.

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