b. July 17, 1961
Chicago, 5th Ward Alderman (1999-)
Chicago, 5th Ward Democratic Committeeman (2000-)
Backed by Cook County Board President and former 4th Ward alderman Toni Preckwinkle, Leslie Hairston has strong support within the Hyde Park independent crowd. A senior member of the Progressive Caucus and one of the most independent aldermen on the City Council, Hairston has never chaired a Council committee, a reward usually given to the Mayor’s strongest allies. Hairston didn't support the parking meter privatization deal, insisted an elected official be appointed to the oversight board of Mayor Emanuel’s Infrastructure Trust, and was one of the first to argue that red-light and speed camera ordinances were not about safety, but revenue.
During the 2015 Election, Ald. Hairston was one of only a handful of incumbent aldermen who didn’t get the seal of approval from the Chicago Sun Times editorial board. In defending their decision to throw support behind challenger Anne Marie Miles, the board said the 16-year incumbent’s “aggressive, feisty and independent style [...] turned combative, erratic and far less productive.”
Beating five challengers, Ald. Hairston narrowly avoided a runoff and refrained from endorsing a mayoral candidate until after winning re- election. Ald. Hairston threw her support behind Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, and accused Mayor Rahm Emanuel of stalling a grocery store that she has been trying to open in the South Shore neighborhood for almost two years.
After obtaining a J.D. from Loyola University, Hairston worked in Springfield as an Assistant Attorney General. She also handled litigation for the office of the Illinois’ Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor’s Office, where she argued before the Illinois Supreme Court. Before becoming elected alderman in 1999, she maintained a private law practice in Chicago.
Current Chicago City Council Committees:
- Committee on Budget and Government Operations
- Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics
- Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development, Vice Chairman
- Committee on Finance
- Committee on Health and Environmental Protection
- Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation
- University of Wisconsin, B.A.
- Loyola University, J.D.
Important Political Events
- 1999, Elected 5th Ward Alderman, defeating Barbara Holt
- 2000, Elected 5th Ward Democratic Committeeman, unopposed