Roman Conrad Pucinski (May 13, 1919 – September 25, 2002) was an American Democratic politician from Chicago, Illinois. He was a U.S. Representative from 1959 to 1973 and alderman from the 41st Ward of Chicago from 1973 to 1991. He was considered a longtime leader of Chicago Polonia and was seen to represent its interests in Washington along with Congressman Dan Rostenkowski.
Life and career
He was born in Buffalo, New York, but moved to Chicago with his family as a child. In 1941, he graduated from Northwestern University. During World War II, he served in the Air Force. After the war, he attended John Marshall Law School in Chicago and graduated in 1949. He worked in journalism for many years, notably at the Chicago Sun-Times. In 1952, he was chief investigator for the Congressional Special Committee which investigated the Katyn Massacre. This was of special interest to him as a Polish-American.
When congressional districts were redrawn after the 1970 Census, Pucinski's district disappeared and he did not seek re-election in 1972. Instead, he was the Democratic candidate for the United States Senate against incumbent Senator Charles H. Percy; he lost badly.
In 1973, he was first elected alderman from the 41st Ward of Chicago, which had been part of his old congressional district and was heavily Polish-American. Pucinski also served as Democratic Ward Committeeman from the 41st Ward for many years. After Mayor Richard J. Daley died in 1976, Pucinski ran in the Democratic primary of the special election to replace him in 1977, even though the Democratic Party had endorsed Michael Bilandic. Bilandic won, Pucinski was the second-place finisher, and Harold Washington came in third with 11%.
In 1987, he proposed requiring employee voting on any Employee Stock Ownership Plan established by a corporation based in Chicago. In 1984, he supported a redistribution of Community Development Block Grant funds that would have allocated $1.3 million to repave streets in the 41st Ward.
The 41st Ward usually voted for Republicans and the aging Pucinski was defeated in his campaign for re-election as alderman by Republican Brian Doherty in 1991.
His daughter Aurelia followed him into politics. He died in Chicago in 2002.