Chicago, 33rd Ward Alderman (2013-)
Illinois, 40th District State Representative (2009-2013)
Chicago native Deb Mell, was appointed to her seat in 2013 following the retirement of her father, longtime powerhouse Alderman Richard Mell. Her sister Patti is married to former convicted Governor Rod Blagojevich. Deb attended St. John Berchman’s Elementary School, St. Scholastica High School, Cornell College and earned a culinary arts degree from California Culinary Academy. She also worked at Christy Webber Landscaping, a politically-connected firm that manages a large number of city contracts.
Before joining the City Council, Mell was a Democratic member of the Illinois House of Representatives, from 2009-2013. She came to office essentially because her father announced it. The 40th District seat was already occupied by Mell acolyte Rich Bradley, who had built a decent reputation for legislative service. But, Father Mell wanted his daughter in office, and so Bradley had to go somewhere. That place was up, to a State Senate seat occupied by State Sen. Iris Martinez, who had a different patron: 31st Ward Committeeman and Cook County Chair Joe Berrios. And thus a massive internecine war was ignited. Bradley lost to Martinez, but it created a Northwest Side rift–and resentment of Deb Mell–that still lingers.
Deb Mell floated running for Rahm Emanuel’s Congressional seat when he left to serve as President Obama’s Chief of Staff in 2013, but decided against it.
Mell is the first openly lesbian Council member, and serves on the LGBT Caucus.
Current Chicago City Council Committees:
- Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics
- Committee on Health and Environmental Protection
- Committee on Housing and Real Estate
- Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety, Vice Chair
- Committee on Transportation and Public Way
- Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards