Michelle Harris

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Michelle Harris

b. December 13, 1961

Chicago, 8th Ward Alderman (2006-)
Chicago, 8th Ward Democratic Committeeman (2012-)
Illinois, 1st District Democratic State Central Committeewoman (2014-)

8th Ward Map - City Ward Map

Michelle Harris came to office in 2006 when Mayor Richard M Daley appointed her to fill Todd Stroger's seat after he was elected Cook County Board President. Prior to her appointment to the City Council, she was secretary to the Cook County Board under former President John Stroger. Now she is chair of the Council Rules Committee, the body that oversees the operations of Council, appointments to its committees and referring legislation to committees. Rules Committee Chair is one of the four positions that effectively controls all city legislation ( along with Finance Chair, Budget Chair and President Pro Temp), and as such Harris plays a big role in Council politics.

Harris has more than a few political patrons in her ward. Aside from the Stroger family, for whom she has worked for since the elder Stroger held the reigns of power in Cook County, she's also connected to the 8th Ward organization through her aunt, former Alderman Lorraine Dixon.

Harris won re-election in 2007, winning a solid majority against a crowded field of seven challengers and has yet to face a serious challenger.

In October 2015, in the wake of a federal probe examining whether Clerk of the Circuit Court Dorothy Brown and her husband were involved in a 'pay to play' scheme, the central committee of Cook County's Democratic Party voted to pull their endorsement of Brown and instead endorsed Harris for Clerk. Harris' campaign proved to be anemic at best and invisible at worst. Rarely campaigning in person and failing to raise enough money to go on television, Harris merely proved to be a spoiler against Brown's other challenger, Jacob Meister.

Employment and Electoral History

Harris first served as secretary to the Cook County Board of Commissioners under former board president John Stroger. When John Stroger left the race after a serious stroke, his son, 8th Ward Alderman Todd Stroger ran in his place, winning the seat in 2006. Shortly thereafter, Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Harris to fill out Todd Stroger's term after Stroger left to become Cook County Board President. Harris won reelection in 2007, winning a solid majority against a crowded field of seven challengers.

Current Chicago City Council Committees:

  • Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics, Chair
  • Committee on Budget and Government Operations
  • Committee on Finance
  • Committee on License and Consumer Protection
  • Committee on Public Safety
  • Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards

Important Political Events

  • 2006, Appointed 8th Ward Alderman by Mayor Richard M. Daley to replace Todd Stroger
  • 2007, Elected 8th Ward Alderman
  • 2012, Elected 8th Ward Democratic Committeeman, replacing Todd Stroger
  • 2014, Elected 1st District State Central Committeewoman, replacing Constance Howard
  • 2016, Defeated for Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Courts by Dorothy Brown