Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6) is a South Side alderman who has represented parts of Chatham, Greater Grand Crossing and Englewood for three terms. His family has a history in Chicago politics. Sawyer’s father, Eugene Sawyer, served as mayor from 1987 to 1989 afte r former Mayor Harold Washington’s sudden death in office.
The 6th Ward alderman was first elected in a narrowly won election in 2011 with just 104 more votes than incumbent Freddrenna Lyle, a Richard M. Daley-loyalist.
In his campaign launch, Sawyer said crime is the biggest issue afflicting the city, positioning his experience working as a leader on the South Side as one of his major strengths in the race. Sawyer said he would fire Police Supt. David Brown if elected. On the City Council, Sawyer has chaired the Committee on Health and Human Relations since 2019 and is a member of both the Progressive Reform Caucus, a group which he helped found in 2013, and the Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus, the latter of which he chaired from 2015 to 2019.
Sawyer has also promised to focus on economic development in the city, increasing access to mental health services for youth and improving schools, pledging to work alongside Chicago Public Schools leaders and the Chicago Teachers Union for solutions.
Sawyer has been a leader on police reform in the city and was a main proponent behind bringing civilian oversight to the police department. Sawyer and Ald. Harry Osterman (48) were original sponsors of an oversight proposal from the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability (GAPA) that eventually got folded into what is now the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability. Following the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, Sawyer led the Black Caucus to call for then-Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s resignation. In 2020, amid the George Floyd protests, he spearheaded the creation of a commission to study reparations for Black Chicagoans, a group which later became a subcommittee of Health and Human Relations after pressure from Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
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