Emma Mitts

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Emma Mitts

b. June 12, 1955

Chicago, 37th Ward Alderman (2000- )
Chicago, 37th Ward Democratic Committeeman (2004-)

37th Ward Map - City Ward Map

Emma Mitts, born and raised in Arkansas, was appointed to her seat by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2000 after then-Alderman Percy Giles was convicted of pocketing $10,000 in cash bribes from a government mole and extorting an additional $81,200 from a company operating an illegal dump in his ward. Mitts, who's first job in Chicago was at a McDonalds, started her city career as a Parking Aide for the Department of Revenue. She then moved on to the Department of Streets and Sanitation, the Bureau of Street Operations and finally the Mayor’s Workforce Development Program where she was plucked by Daley for the alderman spot.

Mitts is best known in Chicago for convincing Council to pass a zoning change allowing Wal-Mart to set up shop in the West Side's Austin neighborhood in 2006. The fight that ensued over the mega retailer's expansion into Chicago (including a proposal to grant Wal-Mart a zoning change in Howard Brookins' South Side 21st Ward) led to the passage, and ultimate veto, of the Big Box Living Wage Ordinance, which would have required retailers operating stores larger than 100,000 square feet to pay a $10 an hour minimum wage, plus $3 in fringe benefits.

Mitts', who is no fan of organized labor, is still dealing with reverberations from the Wal-Mart fight, as labor made big spends for her opponents in 2007, 2011 and 2015.

Mitts, seeking shelter, was a staunch ally of Mayor Daley and then Mayor Rahm Emanuel. With no significant political organization of her own, Mitts also relied on support from neighboring 29th Ward Ald. Isaac Carrothers and most recently 28th Ward Ald. Jason Ervin.

Current Chicago City Council Committees:

  • Committee on Aviation
  • Committee on Budget and Government Operations
  • Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics
  • Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development
  • Committee on Finance
  • Committee on Health and Environmental Protection
  • Committee on License and Consumer Protection, Chair
  • Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety
  • Committee on Public Safety
  • Committee on Workforce Development and Audit

Important Political Events