William M. Beavers – Chairman from 7-25-01 to 12-13-06
The Honorable William M. Beavers was elected Alderman of the City of Chicago in 1983 and served six terms as Alderman. While with the city he was Chairman of the Committee on the Budget and Government Operations, Chairman of the Police and Fire Committee and also served as Vice Chairman of Aviation.
Alderman William M. Beavers was educated in the Chicago Public Schools and attended Harold Washington Jr. College. Alderman Beavers was a member of the Chicago Police Department for 21 years, working as a Vice Officer on Narcotics, Gambling, Prostitution and Gang Crime.
In 1 984 he was elected Democratic Ward Committeeman. In 1994 he was elected the City Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.
Alderman Beavers was considered as an alderman’s alderman: A true believer in politics as a way, a means and lifestyle. He also believed that a person appearance and demeanor made people take you seriously.
Alderman Beavers believed in solving problems in his ward. He once said, “I don’t care what goes on in other wards, but when a problem comes up, I solve it.” Instead of waiting for the city’s attorneys to act, he went out with shears and clipped the cords on telephones being used by drug dealers. And, instead of waiting for city attorneys to act on the removal of illegal ad benches, the Alderman got a tow truck to go out and yank them. He believed the Alderman’s job was a hands on job and that he was the first line of defense for his constituents.
Above all else, he wanted results and wanted them quickly.
Alderman Beavers believed in shopping in the community. He worked diligently to develop the once vacant lot where Fun Town amusement park sat into a mega shopping mall. The corridor on East 95th Street from Stony Island to Colfax contains everything that a neighborhood could want from grocery stores, restaurants, cleaners and banks. This change made a major difference in the community.
After dedicating 45 years of his life to the citizens of this great city, 21 years as a police officer and 24 years as Alderman, HonorableWilliam M. Beavers retired in 2006.
William M. Beavers currently serves as Cook County Commissioner of the 4th District where he was elected in 2006.
Lorraine L. Dixon – Chairman from 8-3-94 to 7-25-01 (Deceased 7-17-01)
The Honorable Lorraine L. Dixon was appointed Alderman of the 8th Ward, City of Chicago in June 1990, was elected in February 1991 and re-elected to a third term in February 1999. Statutorily, an alderman is a legislator who aids in the dissemination of information and city services in the ward but Alderman Dixon went well beyond this call of duty.
Always willing to go the extra mile, Alderman Dixon had a very rigorous schedule. Monday evenings were dedicated to meeting with constituents, while the rest of the week was filled with community and block club meetings. In her efforts to make the 8th Ward the best in Chicago, Alderman Dixon would frequently lead clean-up campaigns, anti-crime marches and was the Grand Marshal of the Annual Back-to-School Parade.
Alderman Dixon was a true bridge-builder and in August 1994, was the first woman elected by her colleagues to serve as Chairman of the Committee on the Budget and Government Operations. To most this position meant power, but to Alderman Dixon the position enabled her to better protect taxpayer dollars. She also served as Chairman of the Subcommittee on MBE/WBE and Affirmative Action Matter for the City Council. Prior to this chairmanship, she served as Chairman of the Council’s Human Relations Committee. She was also the first woman to serve as President Pro Tempore of the Chicago City Council, a position she held since 1993.
Lorraine Dixon truly strived to make a difference in the lives of those she represented as well as those she would never meet. One of her proudest achievements was as a co-sponsor of the City’s first series of “Contractor and Vendor Fairs for Minority and Women-Owned Businesses.”
Prior to her election as 8th Ward Alderman, Lorraine Dixon held numerous government appointed positions. She was Chief-of-Staff to the Chairman of the Committee on Energy, Chief Zoning Administrator for the Committee on Zoning and was a Personnel Training Coordinator with the Chicago Department of Human Services.
Community involvement was always a priority for Alderman Dixon. She was active on numerous community boards and was eager to learn the needs and issues of her constituents, first hand. Her memberships included the 8th Ward Regular Democratic Organization, member of the Board of Directors of the 87th Street Chamber of Commerce and Jackson Park Hospital. She also held memberships in numerous professional and volunteer organizations.
Lemuel Austin, Jr. – Chairman from 7-13-88 to 8-3-94 (Deceased 6-16-94)
The Honorable Lemuel Austin, Jr. was known to many people as a “Quiet Powerhouse.” He was many things to many people, but to most he was a Christian man first and politician second. He was born to the late Reverend Lemuel Sr. and Rosalee on November 12, 1945 in Chicago.
Lemuel Austin attended Carter J. Harrison High School where he received his high school diploma. He went on to attend Richard J. Daley City College of Chicago. In addition, he earned his certification from the Chicago Board of Underwriters and also became a licensed insurance broker.
He accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior at the tender age of seven and has traveled down the Christian road as best he could. Lemuel’s strong belief in his personal savior was first instilled in him by his father, a devout Baptist minister, and mother. He was a faithful member of Messiah Temple Missionary Baptist Church where he served on the trustee board and was the business manager for the pastor’s aide club.
Lemuel wedded his childhood friend, Carrie Mae Battle. To this union, six children were born. He was a proud father and a loving husband who always strived to do the best he could for his family. In addition to being a family man. Lemuel loved people. From 1969 to 1987, he began a life in public service with positions at the Chicago Transit Authority and the U.S. Postal Service. He went on to become the Legislative Aide to the then State Representative Emil Jones, Jr., the Legislative Fiscal Analyst for the City Council Committee on Finance, the Administrative Assistant to the then Alderman Wilson Frost, an Inspector for the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, and the Ward Superintendent for the Department of Streets and Sanitation for the City of Chicago.
In 1987, Lemuel won his first elected position and became alderman of the 34th ward. Recognizing his leadership abilities and outstanding characteristics of honesty and fairness, Lemuel was elected by his aldermanic peers for three terms to the powerful chairmanship of the Committee on the Budget and Government Operations for the City Council. His accomplishments are numerous and exemplary, including being named City Vice-Chairman, Democratic Party of Cook County and being named to a total of 12 City Council committees including two chairmanships, two commissions and several advisory councils. He was also named chairman of the Second Sub-Circuit Judicial District and chairman of the 5th District slating committee for the Cook County Commissioner.
He was also the only African-American to be appointed to the 1996 Executive Convention Site Committee. Lemuel’s many distinguished award included his acceptance of the 1993 Man Of The Year Award from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local #150.
Lemuel’s power and success stemmed from his ability to work with all aldermen to help pass key legislation through the city council that would improve the quality of life for all Chicago residents. Among his many accomplishments, he sponsored the demolition program designed to tear down abandoned building city-wide in cooperation with Mayor Richard M. Daley and the Corporation Counsel. He also initiated the Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise Ordinance to ensure minority participation and fair inclusion in large city contracts. He also successfully guided the “City Preference Ordinance” through the city council to become law, which mandates that 50 percent of the workers on a construction project must be city residents. Lemuel was no stranger to controversy and tension, but he was always guided by what he felt was best for his constituents and this city.
Some of his many accomplishments in the 34th ward included the construction of the mini-mall at 115th and Halsted and more than $5.5 million in capital improvements to the ward He worked with CTA officials to restore the 108th and Halsted “Owl Bus Service” in the ward. He also worked to being viable businesses to the ward’s business district such as Walgreens at 106th and Halsted and State Farm Insurance at 117th and Halsted.
Lemuel was noted for his passionate concern for youth and senior citizens and all his constituents. He financially and physically supported the Lemuel Austin Youth Foundation which includes sports leagues, a cheerleader team, a pom-pom squad and loved to giveaway toys and prizes during the annual ward picnic and Christmas party. He had a special concern for senior citizens seeking social services and formed a senior citizens club to serve as an advisory group on important issues and special events in the ward. One of his favorite events was the Annual Senior Citizens Dinner which is held in conjunction with Mother’s Day.
Lemuel’s political career was nurtured and guided by his POLITICAL FATHER, Commissioner Wilson Frost.
Commissioner Frost guided him through his many accomplishments and yes, some times through his defeats. This bond didn’t stop at politics, for Commissioner Frost was involved in every aspect of Lemuel’s life, down to the birth of his last grandchild while he was living, who was at that time “Akarie Pearl.” Through this strong woven bond between two men, Lemuel’s last routine from the day or even for the night was “I’ve got to talk to the Boss.” Lemuel was noted for his fiery speeches, especially at one of his final speaking engagements, which was at a full ward organization meeting on May 2, 1994.
During this meeting, Lemuel talked to us as a family. He emphasized with all of his heart, that we must all stay, work and live together in love and harmony. Then Lemuel said that there were forces out there hoping to divide us, but if we must remain strong, nothing can come between us. Lemuel was teary eyed, along with the captains and workers who were at the meeting. Emotion was high and the sense of love and loyalty filled the room. In looking back in retrospect, many of us felt that Lemuel gave his own eulogy. His last work to us was, “We are family, don’t let anyone or anybody come between us. Keep the family together.”
Much was accomplished during the life of Lemuel Austin. He was a strong man with a down to earth nature that never allowed him to lose touch with the average citizen. Through perseverance and honesty, his achievements rose beyond his wildest dreams. He was a hard worker who often said, “THERE’S NO SHORTCUT TO THE KING’S ROW” One of his favorite sayings was “IF YOU DON’T BRING NOTHING TO THE TABLE, YOU CAN’T TAKE NOTHING FROM THE TABLE” Now Lemuel can take his rest and feast from heaven’s tableland.
[Today in the Black community and throughout the City of Chicago, there exists a void that will be hard to fill. When thought of, Alderman Lemuel Austin will be remembered as: a man who really cared, a man who tried to help everybody, one of the GOOD GUYS, a role-model for the youth, a man who drew wisdom from Commissioner Wilson Frost and his seniors. He was truly a God sent blessing to all of us because he was a Christian politician and our lives have been enriched by his passing our way.]
Lawrence S. Bloom – Chairman from 4-16-87 to 7-13-88
The Honorable Lawrence S. Bloom was first elected alderman of the Fifth Ward in 1979. He was re-elected for three additional terms completing his service in 1995. Under his leadership the Committee conducted the first ever productivity survey of city departments. He had previously served as Chariman of the Committee on Housing.
Timothy C. Evans – Chairman from 6-6-86 to 4-16-87
The Honorable Timothy C. Evans serves as the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the largest of the 22 judicial circuits in Illinois and also one of the largest unified court systems in the world. More than 1.2 million cases are filed annually in the Circuit Court of Cook County, which serves Cook County’s 5.1 million residents. Chief Judge Evans oversees the circuit’s approximately 400 judges whom he assigns throughout the court’s eight divisions and six geographic districts. He also oversees an annual budget of $166.4 million, and more than 2,700 employees who work in 13 non-judicial offices providing probation and other court-related services.
Chief Judge Evans was first elected Chief Judge in September 2001 by unanimous vote of the circuit judges. He was re-elected without opposition to a third, three-year term September 11, 2007. Only the fourth person to serve as Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, he also is the first African American to serve in the position.
Judge Evans has brought innovative and compassionate changes to the court system that include a new Domestic Violence Courthouse, a new mental health treatment court and expanded drug treatment courts. Under his leadership, there has been an unparalleled growth in free legal services for low-income, self-represented litigants, and the court enjoys national recognition for its extremely effective alternatives to incarceration for young people in trouble. There also has been an unprecedented expansion of the Chief Judge’s duties by state and local government that include administration of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and the court reporters of the court system. Evans has expanded court services to children with innovative drop-off child care that provides a safe, court-based haven for children whose parents or guardians are attending court. He also has expanded opportunities for women and minorities at the court’s executive level, appointing the first Hispanic American as presiding judge of the Fourth Municipal District and the first woman as presiding judge of the Chancery Division.
Evans is a 1965 graduate of the University of Illinois. He received his J.D. from The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois, in 1969.
Upon graduation from John Marshall, Evans embarked on a lifelong pursuit of public service. He first entered local city government in 1969 when he joined the City of Chicago’s Law Department as an assistant corporation counsel. He later joined the City of Chicago’s Department of Investigations, rising to deputy commissioner. In 1973, he was elected to the Chicago City Council representing the 4th Ward, a position he held for 18 years while maintaining a private practice.
With the election of Harold Washington as mayor of Chicago in 1983, Evans received the coveted post of floor leader of the Chicago City Council. He also chaired several major City Council committees, including those on Finance, Budget, and Health.
In 1992, Evans won election to the Cook County judiciary as a circuit judge. Within three years of joining the court, he was appointed the presiding judge of the Domestic Relations Division. Five years later in 2000, he was appointed presiding judge of the Law Division where he served until his election as Chief Judge.