• Erin Hegarty
    AUG 30, 2022

    Tunney won’t seek reelection in 2023, capping off two decades representing Lakeview

    Ald. Tom Tunney (44) [Don Vincent/The Daily Line]

    Ald. Tom Tunney (44) won’t seek reelection next year, ending his two-decade run representing Lakeview.

    Tunney announced his retirement via email Tuesday and said he will serve out the end of his current aldermanic term.

    “I have always strived to do my best for the residents and businesses in the Lakeview community and have been honored by the remarkable opportunity to serve the 44th Ward for almost twenty years,” Tunney wrote. “I will continue to work tirelessly for the ward through my last day on the City Council. As I look ahead, I see so many great ways in which I can continue to give back to the city I love.”

    Tunney’s announcement comes less than five days after Ald. Leslie Hairston (5) announced on Friday she won’t seek reelection next year, ending 24 years on City Council. Tunney and Hairston are among a critical mass of lakefront aldermen calling it quits next year, including Ald. Harry Osterman (48), Ald. James Cappleman (46) and Ald. Michele Smith (43). Ald. Sophia King (4), Ald. Raymond Lopez (15) and Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6) are running for mayor next year.

    Related: Hairston to retire next year after 24 years on City Council

    Additionally, Ald. Carrie Austin (43) will retire next year and Ald. George Cardenas (12) will leave the council later this year for a spot on the Cook County Board of Review.

    Tunney was appointed to his 44th Ward post in 2002 by Mayor Richard M. Daley to replace former 44th Ward Ald. Bernard Hansen. Tunney was the first openly gay member of the Chicago City Council.

    By the time of his appointment two decades ago, Tunney was already known as a clout-heavy Lakeview business leader. He also owns Ann Sather Restaurants.

    Tunney was an early supporter of Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who upon taking office rewarded him by naming him chair of the powerful City Council Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards.

    As zoning committee chair, Tunney has used the position to usher in key Lightfoot legislation including the Air Quality and Zoning ordinance and partial legalization of Accessory Dwelling Units.

    Also as zoning chair, Tunney has done his part to uphold aldermanic prerogative on ward-level zoning decisions as he asks whether development proposals that come up in his committee have the support of the local alderman.

    Tunney allowed aldermanic prerogative to prevail in 2020, when he sided with Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25) to get rid of a Pilsen Historic District that had been backed by Lightfoot’s Department of Planning and Development.

    Related: Aldermen kill Pilsen Landmark District, reject 6-month neighborhood demolition moratorium

    Tunney won his first election in 2003, defeating Rick Ingram and Dean Maragos.

    More recently, Tunney fended off challengers Scott Davis and Mark Thomas in 2015, and handily defeated challengers Austin Baidas and Elizabeth Shydlowski in 2019.

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