b. August 22, 1973
Chicago, 4th Ward Alderman (2011-2016)
Illinois, State Representative (2008-2011)
Twice elected to the Illinois House as the state representative for the 26th District, Will Burns, 41, ditched Springfield in 2011, before the start of his second term, so he could run for the open 4th Ward seat vacated by newly elected Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Despite competing against six other challengers, Burns, who was endorsed by Preckwinkle, secured 64% of the vote and avoided a runoff. At the time, Burns voiced interest in joining the Progressive Caucus; he has since reversed course and is considered one of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's biggest supporters, even playing a leading role organizing his 2015 re-election campaign. He is now a member of the Pro-Emanuel Paul Douglas Alliance.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Burns moved to Chicago in 1991 to attend the University of Chicago. He later became a staffer for then- Senate President Emil Jones, and went on to work on several high- profile campaigns, including Barack Obama’s 2000 ill-fated congressional race against U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, and Obama's U.S. Senate and Presidential campaigns. It’s no secret Burns has ambitions beyond Alderman. He’s a vigorous fundraiser and works hard to build strong relationships far beyond his ward.
Important Political Events
- 2008, Elected 26th District State Representative, defeating Elga Jefferies and Kenny Johnson
- 2011, Elected 4th Ward Alderman, replacing Shirley Newsome
- 2016, Retired 4th Ward Alderman, replaced by Sophia King