Matthew O'Shea

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Matt O'Shea

b. August 26, 1969

Chicago, 19th Ward Alderman (2011-)
Chicago, 19th Ward Democratic Committeeman (2005-)

19th Ward Map - City Ward Map

For years, the 19th Ward was the single largest producer of votes in the City of Chicago - and therein lied the beginning of O'Shea's influence. Since the end of the Second World War, the 19th Ward, an almost suburban bastion of white ethnic, mostly Irish, voters, had been home to many of Chicago's police, firefighters and other city employees. For most of that time, the 19th Ward was run by Thomas Hynes, Jeremiah Joyce and Michael Sheahan and during that time the ward's boundaries rarely changed in redistricting.

But time marches on and Hynes, Joyce and Sheahan have moved their proteges into office to replace them. O'Shea, who has worked on a campaign for each of the 19th Ward's leading families at one time or another was a consensus replacement for Committeeman when Hynes stepped down.

When it came time to replace Ald. Virginia Rugai, O’Shea was again the consensus candidate after years of 19th Ward conflict between Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart and the Hynes family. An aide to Rugai, O’Shea managed to keep a ward full of city employees happy by maintaining a laser focus on prompt city services and attending every pancake breakfast and neighborhood gathering that crosses his desk.

In Council, O'Shea carefully guards the interests of city workers–a large portion of his 19th Ward electorate–but has been known to break from the mayor occasionally. Mayor Rahm Emanuel tapped O'Shea to helm the Aviation Committee when Michael R. Zalewski retired before the end of his term in 2018.

He is not to be confused with another political Matthew O'Shea, a Republican who represented West Cook County as the 22nd District State Senator. O'Shea was an early endorser of Jerry Joyce's mayoral bid in 2019.

Current Chicago City Council Committees:

  • Committee on Aviation, Chair
  • Committee on Budget and Government Operations
  • Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics
  • Committee on Education and Child Development
  • Committee on Finance
  • Committee on License and Consumer Protection
  • Committee on Public Safety
  • Committee on Transportation and Public Way, Vice Chairman
  • Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards

Important Political Events

  • 2005, Appointed 19th Ward Democratic Committeeman by Ward precinct captains
  • 2011, Elected 19th Ward Alderman, replacing Virginia Rugai