Ald. Tom Tunney, former Ricketts foe, announces retirement

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Ald. Tom Tunney, Chicago's first openly gay alderman, announced Tuesday that he will retire at the end of his term next year, becoming the latest in a long list of Chicago alderman leaving their posts.

The 44th Ward alderman has represented the Lakeview neighborhood for nearly two decades, though he offered no reason behind his decision.

“I have always strived to do my best for the residents and businesses in the Lakeview community and have been honored by the remarkable opportunity to serve the residents of the 44th Ward for almost twenty years,” Tunney said in his announcement. “I am grateful for the trust they put in me to help lead Lakeview forward in ways that benefited residents, businesses and visitors, alike. I will continue to work tirelessly for the ward through my last day on the City Council. As I look ahead, I see so many great ways in which I can continue to give back to the city I love.”

He now joins a growing list of City Council members who have either announced they will not seek reelection or been forced out of office via criminal indictment in recent years, continuing a significant rate of turnover that will reshape the 2023 municipal elections.

Ald. Leslie Hairston, who has represented the 5th Ward on the City Council since 1999, announced last week that she would not seek reelection. Hairston, long-known for her independence, says that after 24 years in office, she is ready for a new challenge.

Ald. Michele Smith left office earlier this year, and the efforts to name her successor continue.

Ald. Harry Osterman, James Cappleman and George Cardenas all announced that they will not seek reelection, while Ald. Sophia King, Raymond Lopez and Roderick Sawyer will all be running for mayor this winter.

Meanwhile, former 11th Ward Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson was convicted of lying to federal bank regulators and filing false tax returns. He was replaced by Nicole Lee earlier this year.

Ald. Carrie Austin, who represents the 34th Ward, was indicted on bribery charges last year, and announced she will retire from the City Council.

Tunney, who has also owned Ann Sather Restaurants for more than 40 years, has famously gone head-to-head with the Ricketts family, the owners of the Chicago Cubs who have been vocal in their frustrations with Tunney since his appointment in 2002.

His most recent election victory was a blow to the Cubs organization that tried to oust him from the 44th Ward.

The 44th Ward includes Wrigley Field and the surrounding area - often putting the Ricketts at odds with Tunney over night games, parking, zoning and various projects as the family continues to aggressively buy up and redevelop areas around the stadium. 

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