Alderman John Pope is a lifelong resident of Chicago’s 10th Ward which is located on the far southeast side of the City. Both his parents and grandparents resided in the 10th Ward. Bill Pope, John’s father, like so many southeast siders, made his living in the steel mills of the south side.
John followed two of his brothers to Chicago’s Mount Carmel High School where he participated in extra-curricular activities and various sports. While at Mount Carmel, John was on the National Honors Society, played football, and served as the team captain in his senior year. Upon graduation, John attended Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana where he was a member of the Student Council, played football, and obtained a degree in economics.
Following graduation from college John chose to return to Chicago and pursue a career in public service. He worked in the City of Chicago’s Office of Budget and Management for 3 years as an analyst where he worked closely with various City departments to create responsible budgets to allow for the effective and efficient use of City resources. John later served in the Building Department as Director of Demolition where he was responsible for eliminating dangerous and hazardous buildings that often times attract negative and criminal activity which can lead to the demise of a community. He also was the Director of Conservation where he managed more than 100 staff responsible for inspecting buildings and structures throughout the city.
With the Mayor’s Office, John served as an assistant to former Mayor Richard M. Daley and was involved with neighborhood improvement and infrastructure programs. John was directly responsible for helping neighborhoods improve the quality of life for the residents, businesses, and visitors. He accomplished this by maximizing the use of various City economic development tools, City services, and leveraging private sector investments. He also worked with countless private and public sector entities to bring much needed services to the communities.
Given John’s deep ties in the community and the valuable knowledge he gained while serving the City, he decided to run for office and make a difference in the neighborhood which he has called home his entire life. John became alderman of the 10th Ward on May 3, 1999 when he was sworn in at the City of Chicago’s City Council meeting.
Since first elected Alderman, John has been committed to improving the quality of life in the 10th Ward. Alderman Pope continues to focus on those three items that are necessary to accomplishing this - improving education, reducing crime, and creating more economic development opportunities (jobs). Additionally, Alderman Pope realizes the importance of seniors, is a strong supporter of seniors, and is a regular at senior events throughout the ward. Alderman Pope is fortunate to help craft, review, and pass legislation by sitting on various City Council committees including: Finance, Budget, Public Safety, Housing & Real Estate, Health & Environmental Protection and Transportation & Public Way, where he serves as Vice Chairman.
Understanding that a strong political presence is crucial to further enhancing the ward, Alderman Pope decided to run for the 10th Ward Democratic Committeeman position. An impressive 2000 victory, in which John captured 92% of the precincts, was followed by successive victories in 2004, 2008, and 2012.
During recent years he has supported very controversial yet important items that affect the ward including the Big Box Ordinance, Immigration Rights, Affordable Housing initiatives, and the extension of the Landfill Moratorium. He also brought much needed change to the community including the opening of two new schools (Sullivan and Marsh), the Chicago Manufacturing Center and its 1,000 plus jobs, affordable housing (New Homes for Chicago, Senior Suites of Hegewisch, and Pathway Senior development (2008)). Additionally, various projects have brought jobs to the community including the expansion of the Chicago Ford Motor Company’s Chicago Assembly Plant and an additional 1,200 jobs as well as the rehabilitation of the Trumbull Park Homes, various water, sewer, and other infrastructure projects, and numerous new businesses including Braz and Vacarro Trucking, Aldi, and Walgreen’s. The community has realized the benefits from these projects including short and long term jobs, physically improving property, and enhancing the tax base. Alderman Pope continues to work on the nearly 600 acre Lakeside development (former US Steel site) which includes a proposed 13,000 units of housing and 16 million square feet of commercial, R & D, institutional and other uses.
Alderman Pope was appointed by Mayor Emanuel to the Chicago Infrastructure Trust. The Trust is an innovative way to leverage private investment for transformative infrastructure projects. The millions and potentially billions of dollars associated with the Trust will not only enhance our needy infrastructure, but will create thousands of jobs for Chicagoans and ensure that City residents have a world-class quality of life.
John is an active participant in the CAPS (Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy) program which improves the quality of life by creating partnerships between local businesses and residents, Police and City agencies. He is also a member of various community based organizations including the Hegewisch, East Side and South Chicago Chambers of Commerce, Hegewisch Community Committee, East Side Pride, South Chicago Parents, Southeast Environmental Task Force, Calumet Ecological Park Association (CEPA), and the Calumet Area Industrial Commission (CAIC).
John resides in Hegewisch and has two children, Madelyn Rose and James William.