Local aldermen receive committee assignments

Ald. King (4th, left) and Ald. Hairston (5th, right) (Herald file photos)

Staff writer

Aldermen Sophia King (4th) and Leslie Hairston (5th) have received their committee assignments in the new City Council. Both are on the Rules Committee, on which all aldermen serve, but King will serve on eight additional committees compared with Hairston’s three.

At her May 28 ward meeting, Hairston said she also had been offered membership on nine committees, but she decided against accepting all of them.

Critics have attacked Hairston for her committee attendance in the past, and Hairston said at the meeting, “Taking into consideration those past criticisms and looking at what we have to do going forward, my commitment is to the community, and so I will only accept three.”

She has been named vice chairwoman of the City Council’s Finance Committee and also will serve on the Aviation and Budget and Government Oversight committees.

King, a former high school chemistry teacher, will vice chair the Education and Child Development Committee. She will also serve on the Budget; Contract Oversight and Equity; Finance; Housing and Real Estate; Special Events, Cultural Affairs and Recreation; Pedestrian and Traffic Safety; and Transportation and Public Way committees.

“I am looking forward to the new council with new people, leadership and energy,” King said in a statement. She expressed happiness to be working alongside West Side Ald. Michael Scott, Jr., (24th) the Education Committee chairman: “Our neighborhood schools are one of our highest priorities, so to help shape that agenda is important.

“I am also excited about the new committee, Contract Oversight and Equity,” King continued. “Making sure there is more parity in how resources are distributed is also a priority.”

At her ward meeting, Hairston also said she would continue lobbying for a third major Chicagoland airport to be located in northern Will County, some 55 miles south of the Loop.

Hairston has long supported a South Suburban Airport, claiming it can lead to 15,000 new jobs in the Southland. Rick Bryant, a senior advisor to U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (2nd), whose district spans from East Hyde Park to the south suburbs, said such an airport to be located at Bult Field near Monee, Illinois.