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Lesbian state Rep. Deb Mell named to Chicago City Council

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on July 24 announced that Democratic state Rep. Deborah Mell, who is openly lesbian, will be the new alderman representing Chicago’s 33rd ward.

The mayor said, “After a thorough process, I am pleased to announce that Deb Mell will be the new Alderman representing the 33rd ward. 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.”

A five-member selection committee reviewed 12 candidates for the office. Last week, three finalists from the poll met with Emanuel, who made his decision over the weekend.

Mell had been considered the likely successor to the seat long held by her father, Richard “Dick” Mell.

She said in a statement, “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. There is much work to be done to make Chicago a better city for all, and I look forward to getting started.”

Deb Mell has served the 40th district in the Illinois State House of Representatives since 2009, working on LGBT equality issues, gun control, housing and environmental protection.

She grew up in Chicago and has a culinary arts degree from the California Culinary Academy.

Ald. Michelle Harris, a member of the selection committee, stated, “We are pleased with the Mayor’s selection and appreciative of the opportunity to meet the candidates for this position. I look forward to working with Deb to make sure that the needs of the 33rd ward’s residents are met.”

Mell was to appear in front of the City Council’s Rules Committee before a confirmation vote by the city council.

The 33rd ward includes parts of Ravenswood Manor, Albany Park, Irving Park and Avondale.