William Beavers

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William Beavers

b. February 21, 1935

Chicago, 7th Ward Alderman (1983-2006)
Chicago, 7th Ward Democratic Committeeman (1984-2008)
Cook County, 4th District Commissioner (2006-2013)

As the self-described, "hog with the big nuts," William Beavers will forever be remembered as one of the most boisterous personalities of Chicago politics who taunted federal investigators and ultimately ended up in federal prison.

After serving as a Chicago Police officer for 21 years, Beavers jumped in an open seat race for 7th Ward Alderman after the ward was remapped and incumbent and organization political Joseph Bertrand retired. Beavers unsuccessfully sought then-Mayoral candidate Harold Washington's endorsement, but managed to defeat organization candidate Raymond Castro without it.

In 1984, Beavers ran against Castro again for Democratic Ward Committeeman, who was the incumbent. The race went totally haywire when all four candidates in the race, including Castro and Beavers, managed to get knocked off the ballot. As a result, all four candidates mounted write-in campaigns, which Beavers managed to win by 800 votes.

Although Beavers had a penchant for colorful speech and sartorial affectation, he was relatively undistinguished as legislator in City Council, instead working to aggressively toe the line for organization leaders.

In 2006, he managed a stunning political bank shot, following the death of Cook County Board President John Stroger. Successfully executed, Cook County Board President John Stroger was replaced by his son, then-8th Ward Alderman Todd Stroger, while Beavers would receive John Stroger's Cook County Commissioner seat (County Board Presidents can be a Commissioner simultaneously), and Beaver's daughter Darcel Beavers would be appointed to his 7th Ward Alderman seat.

Darcel did not prove to be a very strong candidate, however, and in 2007 was defeated for Alderman at the polls by [[Jesse Jackson, Jr.]'s wife Sandi Jackson. William was subsequently defeated by Sandi in 2008 for 7th Ward Democratic Committeeman.

Following the Jackson victories, rumors of federal investigation began to swirl around Beavers, and then in 2013 he was convicted for federal tax evasion, specifically for using campaign funds to pay $226,000 of gambling debts without declaring it as income. He left office soon after being sentenced to six months in jail.

Important Political Events

  • 1983, Elected 7th Ward Alderman, defeating Raymond Castro, replacing Joseph Bertrand
  • 1984, Elected 7th Ward Democratic Committeeman by write-in, defeating Raymond Castro
  • 2006, Retired 7th Ward Alderman seat, replaced by daughter Darcel Beavers
  • 2006, Appointed Cook County Commissioner, replacing Todd Stroger
  • 2013, Retired Cook County Commissioner seat after federal conviction for tax evasion, replaced by Stanley Moore


Chicago Politics Ward by Ward, David K. Fremon