John Daley

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John Daley

b. December 5, 1946

Cook County, Cook County Commissioner (1992-)
Chicago, 11th Ward Democratic Committeeman (1980-)
Illinois, State Senator (1989-1992)
Illinois, State Representative (1985-1989)

As one of the Daley brothers (Richard M. Daley, Michael Daley and William Daley as well as sisters Patricia Martino and Mary Carol Vanecko) and son of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, John is at the very center of clout and influence in Chicago. Four years younger than Richard, and the only other brother to have exhibited electoral ambitions, John career has steadily been one step behind Richard. He took over as 11th Ward Committeeman when Richard became Cook County State's Attorney. He served in the state legislature a few years after Richard, and was then appointed to the County Board. Once he became Chair of the Cook County Board Finance Committee, John helped to consolidate the Daley family's almost total control over patronage throughout Chicago and Cook County.

Like the Chicago City Council, the County Board Finance Committee has jurisdiction over all County ordinances related to spending and revenues. Although every member of the County Board is a member of the Finance Committee, and most Finance Committee meetings are held only minutes before full Board meetings, Daley conducts the meetings at a blinding pace, often passing items by acclimation and only calls roll call votes when members call division. As Chair of the Finance Committee, Daley has total authority as to when or whether to call legislation up for debate and a vote. In practice, Daley works most of the time to ensure his fellow Board members are aware of what they are voting on and when, but in times of political need he has used every parliamentary resource available.

John has taken a considerably quieter role in the public eye than his brothers Richard and William. However, John has major roles on the political stage. He is widely credited with first negotiating County Commissioner Bobbie Steele's role as Interim Board President after John Stroger's debilitating stroke, and played a major role in maneuvering in John Stroger's son then-alderman Todd Stroger as the Cook County Board President 2006 Democratic Nominee and appointing then-Alderman William Beavers to replace John Stroger's Commissioner seat. There is some speculation that John Daley was able to do so because he put aside his personal ambitions for Cook County Board President.

Privately, John Daley is an insurance broker, a perennial source of employment for Chicago politicians and a source of political bruises for John Daley. While his father, Richard J. Daley, was still mayor, reporters pressed the Mayor for answers as to why the city had steered insurance business to his son, John. The Mayor simply replied to laughter, "If I can't help my own son, who can I help?"

Throughout his career, Daley has had "an independent broker association" with Near North Insurance, the heavily clouted firm founded by Mayor Richard J. Daley's closest ally, George Dunne. Although Dunne was able to keep the business out of the news, he later turned the business over to Michael "Mickey" Segal, who was later convicted in a series of frauds related to the firm.

John Daley is married to Mary Lou Briatta, the daughter of Louis Briatta, a reputed crime syndicate gambling figure.

Ald. Brian Hopkins worked as Daley's Chief of Staff.

Employment and Electoral History

John Daley started as a school teacher but was soon clouted into a job with Cook County Clerk of Courts Matt Danaher for two years. Soon after, he started his insurance business.


  • Loyola University, B.A.

Important Political Events

  • 1980, Appointed 11th Ward Democratic Committeeman by ward precinct captains
  • 1985, Appointed State Representative by ward Democratic committeemen
  • 1989, Appointed State Senator by ward Democratic committeemen
  • 1992, Appointed Cook County Commissioner by ward Democratic committeemen
  • 1994, Appointed Chairman, County Board Finance Committee