Alderman Carrie M. Austin, a 4-term Alderman of Chicago’s 34th Ward on the city’s far southside, was favorably appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley on Thursday, August 5, 1994 to fulfill the unexpired term of her late husband Lemuel Austin. Henceforth, Alderman Austin has carved her own political niche, which has earned her the moniker “Power Broker”. By advocating, “I had rather do and not promise, than promise and not do,” she remains a loyal servant that holds to an obligation to promote and preserve delivery of quality service, accountability and accessibility.
As a testament to demonstrated work ethic, the Mayor again made appointment on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 for Chairmanship of the powerfully prestigious Committee on the Budget & Government Operations, the second largest committee after the Committee on Finance to the Honorable Alderman. A seat also previously held by her late husband Lemuel Sr. In such capacity, Chairman Austin’s the keeper of the budget “having jurisdiction over expenditure of all funds appropriated and expended by the City and all matters concerning organization, reorganization and efficient management of City government, and federal and state legislation and administrative regulations of City interest” (excerpted from “Rules of Order and Procedure of the City Council, City of Chicago,” For Years 2007-2011).
The Alderman also Vice Chairs the Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics and has membership in the Committee on Energy, Environmental Protection and Public Utilities, the Committee on Finance, the Committee on Health, the Committee on Housing and Real Estate, the Committee on Police and Fire, and the Committee on Zoning. She’s a former Chair of the City of Chicago Black Caucus, where she now serves as its Secretary. She is the 34th Ward Committeeman, Central State Committeeman and was a Barack Obama Delegate. Affectionately called “Chairman” by colleagues and staff, Austin is a staunch member of the 34th Ward Democratic Organization since 1972. Her commitment to public service includes working under former 34th Ward Aldermen Wilson Frost, Annette Bitoy, her late husband Lemuel Sr., as well as, State Representative Nelson Rice, Sr and former Congressman Mel Reynolds. She has garnered the respect of her fellow council members, city department heads, local/national government and corporate officials, maintains close relationships with her 5th and 22nd District Police Commanders, as well as Superintendent Weis, CAPS Staff, Area Pastors, business leaders, community organizers, constituents and others that live, work and/or advocate for the betterment of ward affairs.
Despite the Chicago City Aldermanic job classification being designated as a part-time position, this Alderman keeps an ongoing full-time schedule. Work demands upon Carrie Austin as Alderman, Committeeman, Vice Chair of Cook County Democratic Party of Illinois, Central State Committeeman, Chairman of the Committee on Budget & Government Operations, community leader, advocate and other apropos representations in between is quite immense. However, consistently rising to meet the call to speak, panel and/or participate in as many public and private sector venues as possible, this energetic and people-loving public official accomplishes the feat most masterfully.
Madam Austin connects to her public through hosting weekly ward nights, monthly town halls and attending community-driven forums and activities. She regularly appears on local television and radio talk formats discussing current events and issues. A trendsetting proponent of quality in public education, she cultivates strong involvement with 34th ward CPS principals and CPS CEO. She delights in promoting community partnerships that build upon community-based resources. Like the 34th‘s new state-of-the-art public library, which replaced an infamous 24-hour liquor store she and the community lobbied and successfully drove out. The redeveloping ward has a new Mercy Hospital Emergency Room and clinic facilities, opened a concept school, which merges a disabled and typic student population. She’s spearheaded a 10-year advocacy that actualized a major shopping mail with major anchor stores, national food chains, restaurants, shops, fitness centers, specialty boutiques, and all the trimmings characteristic of a suburban mall, effectively driving the ward’s economy and creating ongoing job opportunities and recirculating local revenue. And there are more than a few new scattered mini-malls and independent stores, with more anticipated. In addition to that, the Alderman’s 34th people’s ward is set this summer to break ground to the largest Salvation Army complex in the nation with a panoramic view toward providing ample safe harbor for senior, family and youth recreation, entertainment, informational resources and other community services. The ward will also auspiciously host one of the largest Solar-Panel facilities in the country as well. This Alderman is certainly an advocate of the president’s green initiatives and all new and projected developments are mindful of using such resources where applicable. This can be noted by her current lobby to bring a “waste-to-energy” biomass system plant facility to her beloved part of the city.
Alderman Carrie’s love for the Lord is evident in all she does! A former member of Messiah Temple under the leadership of Reverend Barney Saulsby, she willfully served on various committees. Her current spiritual servitude at Logos Baptist Assembly is under the formidable leadership worship of the distinct Reverend Donald Parson. And she openly espouses to freely pass on the good news of the Gospel to all persons willing to listen.
The Honorable Alderman Austin is a noble mother of 7 children, grandmother of 25. So when she’s not being a diligent shepherd, soldier, and servant, she likes to take time to relax and enjoy family and friends.