• Erin Hegarty
    SEP 07, 2022

    Ald. Howard Brookins announces he won’t seek a sixth term in 2023

    Ald. Howard Brookins (21) during a City Council meeting. [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

    Ald. Howard Brookins (21) announced on Wednesday that he plans to retire from the City Council at the end of his fifth term next year.

    Brookins, who chairs the City Council Committee on Transporation and Public Way and whose ward includes Auburn Gresham and Washington Heights, made the announcement in an emailed statement saying he is “ready to hand the reins over to a new generation of leadership.”

    “For the 19 years that I have served alderman of the 21st ward, I have walked in the footsteps of my father and I took pride in modeling servant leadership for our beautiful communities,” Brookins was quoted as saying in the news release. “I am thankful for having the trust of my community as we worked together to provide greater economic opportunity and prosperity for our people.”

    Brookins used his emailed announcement to list some of his accomplishments during his time in office including expanding affordable housing, adding a new charter school, and helping to “jumpstart” the city’s e-scooter program.  Additionally, Brookins has previously served as chair of the Aldermanic Black Caucus and has helped “usher in” the DuSable Museum of African American History and bring reparations for victims of former police Cmdr. Jon Burge, according to the release.

    -- A Chicago Index Survey | Answer Now --

    Chicago's Race for Mayor

    Brookins has worked with “young leaders” including Ronnie Mosley on the 21st Ward Young Democrats organization and is hoping to “hand the baton over to a new generation of leaders who can make sure the movement for racial justice and economic equity is sustained into the new political era,” according to the news release.

    “I will remain politically active and available for guidance and counsel, particularly for young Democrats who will bring our ward and our city into a more just future,” Brookins said in the news release. “I have faith in their leadership and history shows us that the Black movement works best when the new generation takes over at the right time. I believe now is that time, at least for our community here in the 21st ward.”

    In addition to his role as alderman, Brookins has served as Cook County Democratic Party 21st Ward Committeeperson since 2004.

    Brookins is a partner at the Brookins and Wilson Law Firm, a role that has put him at odds with Chicago ethics rules.

    Brookins in 2019 pushed back against a ruling by the Board of Ethics that he could not represent Chicago Police officers in his private law practice. The ethics board nodded to the same ruling in December 2020, when they fined Brookins $5,000 for representing his former colleague Ald. Proco Joe Moreno in court. Brookins sued the Board of Ethics in January 2021, saying they violated his due process rights.

    Brookins is just the latest in a long line of aldermen who have left council this year or plan to retire next year.

    Those aldermen are: Ald. Leslie Hairston (5); Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10); Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11), who was forced to resign after being convicted of tax fraud and lying to federal banking regulators; Ald. Michael Scott (24), Ald. Carrie Austin (34), Ald. Michele Smith (43), Ald. Tom Tunney (44), Ald. James Cappleman (46) and Ald. Harry Osterman (48).

    Additionally, three sitting aldermen — Ald. Sophia King (4), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6) and Ald. Raymond Lopez (15) — are planning to run for mayor, and Ald. George Cardenas (12) will be required to resign from his City Council seat in the coming months before being sworn into his seat on the Cook County Board of Review.

    At least three people have filed paperwork to run for election in the 21st Ward including Cornell Dantzler, Bernard "BK" Kelly and Anaya Clark.

Showing 1 reaction

Or sign in with email

    Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.