Ira Silverstein

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Ira Silverstein

b. October 10, 1960

Illinois, State Senator (1998-)
Majority Caucus Chair
Chicago, 50th Ward Democratic Committeeman (2008-)

Ira Silverstein shocked Democratic leaders in 1998 as only the second Chicagoan to be elected to the State Senate without Democratic party slating. His victory over 39th Ward Committeeman and slated candidate Randy Barnette came as part of the rolling "independent" juggernaut known as Team Jan, a crew of organizers and elected leaders led by then-newly-minted Cong. Jan Schakowsky.

Since his election in 1998 Silverstein has earned a reputation as a progressive, hard-working and well-liked legislator in Springfield with aspirations to be a successor to current Senate President Emil Jones.

Silverstein and Team Jan came together again in 2008 to defeat incumbent Bernard Stone to take his 50th Ward Democratic Committeeman seat. Only part of Silverstein's recent victory can be attributed to Silverstein. Most of it can be attributed to Stone being on the wrong side of too many people. He was for Hillary Clinton for President in a Barack Obama stronghold, he barely won reelection for Alderman against Naisy Dolar in 2007 and was on the wrong side of Jan Schakowsky one too many times. But the killing blow for Stone was probably his opposition to Mayor Richard M. Daley's 2007 budget in City Council. With nowhere to hide, Silverstein and his allies piled on and the Stone finally sunk on Election Day.

Then in 2011, Silverstein brought his wife into the mix to finally push Stone out of politics. Ailing and phlegmatic, Stone barely mounted a defense against Debra Silverstein, who drove him to a runoff and then defeated him 61-39%. Ever since, 50th Ward politics have been quieter than they've been for decades.

Employment and Political History

Silverstein maintains a private legal practice.


  • 1982, Loyola University, B.A.
  • 1985, John Marshall Law School, J.D.

Important Political Events

  • 1998, Elected State Senator, defeating Randy Barnette
  • 2008, Elected 50th Ward Democratic Committeeman, defeating Bernard Stone
  • 2011, Wife Debra Silverstein Elected 50th Ward Alderman, defeating Bernard Stone