b. February 12, 1955
Chicago, 43rd Ward Alderman (2011-)
Chicago, 43rd Ward Democratic Committeeman (2008-2016)
Michele Smith, 60, first ran unsuccessfully for Alderman in 2007 against Vi Daley (no relation to the former Mayor). But she pivoted to defeat Daley’s Chief of Staff, Charles Eastwood, for Democratic Committeeman in a five-way open seat race in 2008. Using her new position as a base, Smith built a strong volunteer organization and defeated Daley in a second run in 2011, calling for renewed neighborhood involvement in planning decisions.
Smith, an attorney who served a stint in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the early 80’s, later worked as a corporate attorney for a division of Navistar. Her hard-charging ways can both help and hurt: sometimes it helps her get what she needs for her ward, but she can sometimes seem brusque to others. In 2015, that dual-edged sword forced her into a tight runoff against anti-development activist Caroline Vickery, which Smith won by a slim 79 votes out of over 14,000 cast.
Smith, who has one of the most Republican-leaning wards in Chicago, trumpets her close ties to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Those ties became tangled for her, as Lucy Moog, a long-time friend and one-time neighbor of Emanuel's, declared her intention to run for 43rd Ward Committeeman. Smith, perhaps unwilling to fight a close Emanuel ally, retired her Committeeman seat and declared her support for Moog.
Current Chicago City Council Committees:
- Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics
- Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development
- Committee on Education and Child Development, Vice Chair
- Committee on Human Relations
- Committee on License and Consumer Protection
- Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation
- Committee on Transportation and Public Way
- Committee on Workforce Development and Audit
- University of Chicago Law School, J.D.
Important Political Events
- 2007, Defeated for 43rd Ward Alderman by incumbent Vi Daley in runoff
- 2008, Elected 43rd Ward Democratic Committeeman, defeating [[Charles Eastwood] and replacing Vi Daley who had stepped down
- 2011, Elected 43rd Ward Alderman, defeating Ald. Vi Daley
- 2016, Retired 43rd Ward Democratic Committeeman, replaced by Lucy Moog