Michele Smith (politician)

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Michele Smith
Alderman Michele Smith.jpg
City of Chicago Alderman
City of Chicago Alderman
Assumed office
May 16, 2011
Preceded by Vi Daley
Constituency 43rd Ward
Personal details
Born (1955-02-12) February 12, 1955 (age 62)
Political party Democratic
Residence Chicago, Illinois
Alma mater University of Chicago, J.D., Doctorate of Law
SUNY Buffalo, B.A., Political Science
Website City of Chicago 43rd Ward

Michele Smith (born February 12, 1955) is a member of the Chicago City Council, representing the 43rd Ward on Chicago's North Side.[1] The 43rd ward includes much of the Lincoln Park and a small portions of the Near North Side Community areas.


Smith earned a degree in Political Science from SUNY Buffalo in 1976 and a law degree from University of Chicago in 1979. After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School in 1979, Smith joined the US Attorney’s Office. During her time there she prosecuted over 400 narcotics, white-collar, and political corruption cases. Following, Smith worked as General Counsel for the Engine Group at Navistar International Corporation and led the team responsible for bringing about changes in the Clean Air Act to reduce diesel emissions to near zero.

43rd Ward Democratic Committeeman[edit]

In 2007 Smith was elected to serve as Committeeman of Chicago’s 43rd Ward, and re-elected in 2012.[2] For the past five years, she has kept voters informed about candidates for Congress, County Board, and statewide office, through meetings attended by hundreds of residents.

Aldermanic career[edit]

In 2011, Smith ran for 43rd Ward Alderman and assumed office on May 16, 2011.

Smith has taken an active role in ensuring that new development is community-driven, most notably she renegotiated the Lincoln Park Hospital Redevelopment to decrease intensity of use on site. She also prioritizes constituent services. Since assuming office, her office concluded 5,307 constituent service requests, an increase of 50.59%, doubled the number of street lights repaired and street potholes filled, and tripled the number of sewer cleanings.

Smith has also taken an active role in City Hall. In addition to co-sponsoring the elimination of the Head Tax, a tax that unfairly penalized small businesses, she fought and saved condominium refuse rebate for several more years and obtained funding of past years’ deficits. Smith also urged city council to reform investment strategies of the city’s largest employee pension fund. The city council unanimously approved a resolution that urged the Municipal Employees Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago to divest from companies associated with Iran’s energy sector. Most impressively, during the City remap, against overwhelming odds, Michele rallied her community and prevented Lincoln Park from being split among five different wards.

In addition to working as a member of the Chicago City Council, Smith works concurrently for the Helen Coburn Meier & Tim Meier Charitable Foundation for the Arts for $72,000 a year. The Meiers are among her top campaign contributors. Her job is to help the foundation find "three mid-career artists a year and give them no-strings-attached $33,000 grants," according to the Chicago Tribune. Her salary from the foundation is equal to nearly three-fourths of the grants the foundation is giving to the three artists.[3]

Committee assignments[edit]

Smith sits on six City Council Committees:

  • Committees, Rules, and Ethics
  • Economic, Capital, and Technology Development
  • Human Relations
  • Special Events, Cultural Affairs, and Recreation
  • Transportation and Public Way
  • Workforce Development and Audit


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Vi Daley
Member of the Chicago City Council
43rd Ward

Succeeded by