James Cappleman

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James Cappleman
Member of the Chicago City Council from the 46th ward
Assumed office
May 16, 2011
Preceded by Helen Shiller
Personal details
Born (1952-10-26) October 26, 1952 (age 62)
Temple, Texas
Political party Democratic
Domestic partner Richard Thale
Residence Chicago, Illinois
Alma mater University of Houston
University of Illinois at Chicago
Website james46.org

James Cappleman (born October 26, 1952[1]) is an American licensed clinical social worker and politician. On April 5, 2011, Cappleman was elected to the Chicago City Council, representing the 46th Ward. He took office on May 16, 2011.

Early life and career[edit]

A native of Houston, Texas and the son of a United States Army physician and nurse, Cappleman was one of 7 children raised by his mother after his father's death.[2] He moved to Chicago in 1986 and has lived in the 46th Ward since 1999. He graduated from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Masters in Social Work in 1991.[3] He served two terms as Board President of the Uptown Chicago Commission, leaving the organization in 2010 to run for public office. He currently serves on the board of directors of Annie's Legacy, a not-for-profit organization that provides mentoring to women who have had a history of domestic violence.[4]

Political career[edit]

He previously ran for alderman of the 46th ward in 2007 against six-term incumbent Helen Shiller and was narrowly defeated, polling 47% in the runoff to her 53%. After Shiller announced that she would not seek a seventh term, Cappleman ran against ten other candidates in 2011 and won.[5] In 2015, Cappleman won reelection, defeating two other candidates. [6][7] He is a member of Budget, Ethics, Health, Housing, Licensing & Consumer Protection, Pedestrian & Traffic, and Zoning Committees.[8]


Cappleman is openly gay.[9] His partner, Richard Thale, is chair of the 19th Police District's Court Advocacy Committee and a CAPS facilitator for Beat 1914. After being a couple for over 20 years, the two entered into a civil union on September 8, 2012 and married the following year in Washington State.[10] Cappleman is one of three openly gay Chicago aldermen, alongside Tom Tunney and Deb Mell.[11] However, Cappleman was the first gay individual to be elected initially, as Tunney was appointed a month before being elected in 2003.[12]


  1. ^ "Editorial board questionnaire: James Cappleman, 46th ward". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  2. ^ "Get To Know: James Cappleman, LCSW". NASW of Illinois. February 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Editorial board questionnaire: James Cappleman, 46th ward". Chicago Tribune. [dead link]
  4. ^ http://www.annieslegacy.org/#!untitled/cjg9.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Natasha Korecki, Stefano Esposito and Dan Rozek (April 5, 2011). "Debra Silverstein ousts longtime Ald. Bernard Stone in 50th Ward". Chicago Sun-Times. 
  6. ^ Rahm wins big, City Council now 10% gay
  7. ^ Simonette, Matt. "Rahm wins big, City Council now 10% gay". Windy City Times. Tracy Baim. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Meet James". james46.org. 
  9. ^ "Chi. Elects 2nd Gay Alderman". The Advocate. April 6, 2011. 
  10. ^ Windy City Times http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/-Cappleman-wed-in-Washington-State/45190.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Windy City Times. July 31, 2013 http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Deb-Mell-replaces-father-as-alderman/43891.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Cappleman makes history in runoff election". Windy City Times. April 5, 2011. 

External links[edit]