CHICAGO -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel has tapped state Rep. Deborah Mell as alderman for the city's 33rd ward.
Mell was one of three finalists chosen from a dozen applicants by a five-member selection committee. She was considered a shoo-in because the seat had been held for many years by her father, Richard "Dick" Mell, who retired this month. She will finish out her father's term, which ends in 2015.
“After a thorough process, I am pleased to announce that Deb Mell will be the new Alderman representing the 33rd ward," Emanuel said. "Deb brings a strong legislative and voting record and a unique level of experience to the role, which separated her from other candidates for the position, and will allow her to immediately able make a strong impact on behalf of the residents of the 33rd ward. She is a proven legislator and will be a great addition to the city council."
Mell co-sponsored the marriage-equality bill in the Illinois Assembly. The bill was passed by the state Senate, but failed to get a vote in the House on June 1. The Assembly has adjourned for the session and will not return until the fall, when the bill will be taken up again.
“I am excited to take on this challenge and responsibility, and look forward to working directly with the residents of the 33rd ward as their alderman," Mell said. "There is much work to be done to make Chicago a better city for all, and I look forward to getting started."
In 2011 Mell married her partner Christin Baker in Iowa, where same-gender marriage is legal. Baker held the Bible at Mell's swearing in ceremony on Wednesday at Chicago City Hall.