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|55th Mayor of Chicago|
May 16, 2011
|Preceded by||Richard M. Daley|
|23rd White House Chief of Staff|
January 20, 2009 – October 1, 2010
|Preceded by||Joshua Bolten|
|Succeeded by||Pete Rouse|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 5th district
January 3, 2003 – January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Rod Blagojevich|
|Succeeded by||Mike Quigley|
|Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus|
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2009
|Preceded by||Jim Clyburn|
|Succeeded by||John Larson|
|Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee|
January 3, 2005 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Bob Matsui|
|Succeeded by||Chris Van Hollen|
|Senior Advisor to the President|
January 20, 1993 – November 7, 1998
|Preceded by||Henson Moore|
|Succeeded by||Joel Johnson|
|Born||Rahm Israel Emanuel
November 29, 1959
|Spouse(s)||Amy Merritt Rule (m. 1994)|
|Children||Zachariah (b. 1997)
Ilana (b. 1998)
Leah (b. 2000)
|Alma mater||Sarah Lawrence College (B.A.)
Northwestern University (M.A.)
|Religion||Modern Orthodox Judaism|
Born in Chicago, Emanuel is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and Northwestern University. Working early in his career in Democratic politics, Emanuel was appointed as director of the finance committee for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. In 1993, he joined the Clinton administration, where he served as the Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and as the Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy before resigning in 1998. Beginning a career in finance, Emanuel worked at the investment bank Wasserstein Perella & Co. from 1998 to 2002 and served on the board of directors of Freddie Mac.
In 2002, Emanuel ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives vacated by Rod Blagojevich, who had resigned to run for Governor of Illinois. Emanuel won the first of three terms representing Illinois's 5th congressional district, a seat he held from 2003 to 2009. During his tenure in the House, Emanuel held two Democratic leadership positions, serving as the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 2005 to 2007 and as the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus from 2007 to 2009. After the 2008 presidential election, President Barack Obama appointed Emanuel to serve as White House Chief of Staff.
In October 2010, Emanuel resigned as chief of staff to run as a candidate in Chicago's 2011 mayoral election. Because of questions over his eligibility to run for mayor, Emanuel's candidacy was initially rejected by the Illinois First District Appellate Court, though he was later found eligible to run in a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court of Illinois. Emanuel won with 55% of the vote over five other candidates in the nonpartisan mayoral election, succeeding 22-year incumbent Richard M. Daley.
Early life and familyEmanuel's grandfather was a Romanian Jew from Moldova. The surname Emanuel (עמנואל), which means "God with us", was adopted by their family in honor of his father's brother Emanuel Auerbach, who was killed in 1933 in an altercation with Arabs in Jerusalem.
Emanuel's father, Benjamin M. Emanuel, is a Jerusalem-born pediatrician who was once a member of the Irgun, a Jewish paramilitary organization that operated in Mandate Palestine. His mother, Marsha (née Smulevitz), is the daughter of a West Side Chicago union organizer who worked in the civil rights movement, and briefly owned a local rock and roll club. Emanuel's parents met during the 1950s in Chicago. Emanuel was born on November 29, 1959 in Chicago, Illinois. Emanuel's first name, Rahm (רם) means high or lofty in Hebrew.
Emanuel's older brother, Ezekiel, is an oncologist and bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, and his younger brother, Ari, is the CEO of William Morris Endeavor, a talent agency with headquarters in Beverly Hills, California; he also has a younger adopted sister, Shoshana.
While they lived in Chicago, Emanuel attended the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School. After his family moved to Wilmette, Emanuel attended public schools: Romona School, Locust Junior High School, and New Trier West High School. Emanuel and his brothers attended summer camp in Israel, including the summer following the June 1967 Six-Day War.
Emanuel was encouraged by his mother to take ballet lessons and is a graduate of the Evanston School of Ballet, as well as a student of The Joel Hall Dance Center, where his children later took lessons. Emanuel won a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet, but turned it down to attend Sarah Lawrence College, a liberal arts school with a strong dance program. While an undergraduate, Emanuel was elected to the Sarah Lawrence Student Senate. He graduated from Sarah Lawrence in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts, and went on to receive an Master of Arts in Speech and Communication from Northwestern University in 1985.
Emanuel was a civilian volunteer assisting the Israel Defense Forces for a short time during the 1991 Gulf War, repairing truck brakes in one of Israel's northern bases with Sar-El.
Political staffer careerEmanuel began his political career with the public interest and consumer rights organization Illinois Public Action. He went on to serve in a number of capacities in local and national politics, initially specializing in fundraising for Illinois campaigns, and then nationally.
Emanuel worked for Democrat Paul Simon's 1984 election to the U.S. Senate. He also worked as the national campaign director for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 1988, and was senior advisor and chief fundraiser for Richard M. Daley's successful initial campaign for Mayor of Chicago in 1989.
At the start of then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton's presidential primary campaign, Emanuel was appointed to direct the campaign's finance committee. Emanuel insisted that Clinton schedule much time for fundraising and greatly delay campaigning in New Hampshire. Clinton embarked on an aggressive national fundraising campaign that allowed the campaign to keep buying television time as attacks on Clinton's character threatened to swamp the campaign during the New Hampshire primary. Clinton's primary rival, Paul Tsongas (the New Hampshire Democratic primary winner), later withdrew, citing a lack of campaign funds. Richard Mintz, a Washington public relations consultant who worked with Emanuel on the campaign, spoke about the soundness of the idea: "It was that [extra] million dollars that really allowed the campaign to withstand the storm we had to ride out in New Hampshire [over Clinton's relationship with Gennifer Flowers and the controversy over his draft status during the Vietnam War]." Emanuel's knowledge of the top donors in the country, and his rapport with "heavily Jewish" donors helped Clinton amass a then-unheard-of sum of $72 million. While working on the Clinton campaign Emanuel was a paid retainer of the investment bank Goldman Sachs.
Following the campaign, Emanuel became a senior advisor to Clinton at the White House from 1993 to 1998. In the White House, Emanuel was initially Assistant to the President for Political Affairs and then Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy. He was a leading strategist in White House efforts to institute NAFTA and universal health care, among other Clinton initiatives.
Emanuel is known for his "take-no-prisoners style" that has earned him the nickname "Rahmbo." Emanuel sent a dead fish in a box to a pollster who was late delivering polling results. On the night after the 1996 election, angry at Democrats and Republicans who "betrayed" them in the 1992 election, Emanuel stood up at a celebratory dinner with colleagues from the campaign and began plunging a stake into the table and began rattling off names while shouting "Dead! Dead! Dead!". Before Tony Blair gave a pro-Clinton speech during the impeachment crisis, Emanuel reportedly screamed at Blair "Don't fuck this up!" while Clinton was present. Blair and Clinton both burst into laughter. However, by 2007 friends of Emanuel were saying that he has "mellowed out". Stories of his personal style have entered the popular culture, inspiring articles and websites that chronicle these and other quotes and incidents. The character Josh Lyman in The West Wing was said to be based on Emanuel, though executive producer Lawrence O'Donnell denied this.
Career in financeAfter serving as an advisor to Bill Clinton, in 1998 Emanuel resigned from his position in the Clinton administration and joined the investment banking firm Wasserstein Perella, where he worked until 2002. Although he did not have an MBA degree or prior banking experience, he became a managing director at the firm’s Chicago office in 1999, and according to Congressional disclosures, made $16.2 million in his two-and-a-half-years as a banker. At Wasserstein Perella, he worked on eight deals, including the acquisition by Commonwealth Edison of Peco Energy and the purchase by GTCR Golder Rauner of the SecurityLink home security unit from SBC Communications.
Emanuel was named to the Board of Directors of Freddie Mac by President Clinton in 2000. He earned at least $320,000 during his time there, including later stock sales. During Emanuel's time on the board, Freddie Mac was plagued with scandals involving campaign contributions and accounting irregularities. The Obama Administration rejected a request under the Freedom of Information Act to review Freddie Mac board minutes and correspondence during Emanuel's time as a director. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight later accused the board of having "failed in its duty to follow up on matters brought to its attention." Emanuel resigned from the board in 2001 before his first bid for Congress.
ElectionsIn 2002 Emanuel pursued the U.S. House seat in the 5th District of Illinois previously held by Rod Blagojevich, who successfully ran for Governor of Illinois. His strongest opponent in the crowded primary of eight was former Illinois State Representative Nancy Kaszak. During the primary, Edward Moskal, president of the Polish American Congress, a political action committee endorsing Kaszak, called Emanuel a "millionaire carpetbagger." Emanuel won the primary and defeated Republican candidate Mark Augusti in the general election. Emmanuel's inaugural election to the House was the closest he ever had, as he won over 70% of the vote in all of his re-election bids.
Tenurejoint Congressional resolution authorizing the Iraq War, and so did not vote on it. However, in the lead up to the resolution, Emanuel spoke out strongly in support of the war, urging a United States' "muscular projection of force" in Iraq. Emanuel has been the focus of anti-war protests for his support of funding bills for the war in Iraq, and his support, during Democratic party primaries, of Democratic candidates that were more hawkish. In his first term, Rahm Emanuel was a founding member and the Co-Chair of the Congressional Serbian Caucus.
In January 2003, Emanuel was named to the House Financial Services Committee and sat on the subcommittee that oversaw Freddie Mac. A few months later, Freddie Mac Chief Executive Officer Leland Brendsel was forced out and the committee and subcommittee commenced more than a year of hearings into Freddie Mac. Emanuel skipped every hearing allegedly for reasons of avoiding any appearance of favoritism, impropriety, or conflict of interest.
House leadershipAfter his role in helping the Democrats win the 2006 elections, Emanuel was believed to be a leading candidate for the position of Majority Whip. Nancy Pelosi, who became the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, persuaded him not to challenge Jim Clyburn, but instead to succeed Clyburn in the role of Democratic Caucus Chairman. In return, Pelosi agreed to assign the caucus chair more responsibilities, including "aspects of strategy and messaging, incumbent retention, policy development and rapid-response communications." Caucus vice-chair John Larson remained in his role instead of running for the chairman position.
After Vice President Dick Cheney asserted that he did not fall within the bounds of orders set for the executive branch, Emanuel called for cutting off the $4.8 million the Executive Branch provides for the Vice President's office.
Positions on political issues
- Social issues
During his original 2002 campaign, Emanuel spoke in support of the goal of "to help make health care affordable and available for all Americans".
In his 2006 book, co-authored with Bruce Reed, The Plan: Big Ideas for America, Emanuel advocated a three-month compulsory universal service program for Americans between the ages of 18 and 25. An expanded version was later proposed by Barack Obama during his 2008 campaign.
- Iraq war
In the 2006 congressional primaries, Emanuel, then head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, helped organize a run by Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran with no political experience, against grassroots candidate Christine Cegelis in Illinois' 6th District. Expedited withdrawal from Iraq was a central point of Cegelis' campaign and Duckworth opposed a withdrawal timetable.
- Middle east
Democratic Party leadership
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairmanEmanuel assumed the position of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman (DCCC) after the death of the previous chair, Bob Matsui. Emanuel led the Democratic Party's effort to capture the majority in the House of Representatives in the 2006 elections. The documentary HouseQuake, featuring Emanuel, chronicles those elections. After Emanuel's election as chairman of the Democratic Caucus, Chris Van Hollen became committee chair for the 110th Congress. Emanuel had disagreements over Democratic election strategy with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. Dean favored a "fifty-state strategy", building support for the Democratic Party over the long term, while Emanuel advocated a more tactical approach focusing attention on key districts.
2006 elections and Emanuel received considerable praise for his stewardship of the DCCC, even from Illinois Republican Rep. Ray LaHood who said "He legitimately can be called the golden boy of the Democratic Party today. He recruited the right candidates, found the money and funded them, and provided issues for them. Rahm did what no one else could do in seven cycles." However, he also faced some criticism for his failure to support some progressive candidates, as Howard Dean advocated.
Emanuel aligned himself with the Democratic Leadership Council.
2008 Presidential electionEmanuel declared in April 2006 that he would support Hillary Rodham Clinton should she pursue the presidency in 2008. Emanuel remained close to Clinton since leaving the White House, talking strategy with her at least once a month as chairman of the DCCC. However, Emanuel's loyalties came into conflict when his home-state Senator, Barack Obama, expressed interest in the race. Asked in January 2007, about his stance on the Democratic presidential nomination, he said: "I'm hiding under the desk. I'm very far under the desk, and I'm bringing my paper and my phone." Emanuel remained neutral in the race until June 4, 2008, the day after the final primary contests, when he endorsed Obama.
White House Chief of Staff position of White House Chief of Staff for Barack Obama. He resigned his congressional seat effective January 2, 2009. A special primary to fill his vacated congressional seat was held on March 3, 2009, and the special general election on April 7. John Fritchey, a candidate for that seat, said at a forum that Emanuel had told him he may be interested in running for the seat again in the future.
Some Republican leaders criticized Emanuel's appointment because they believed it went against Obama's campaign promises of less divisive politics, given Emanuel's reputation as a partisan Democrat. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham disagreed, saying: "This is a wise choice by President-elect Obama. He's tough but fair, honest, direct and candid." Ira Forman, executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, said that the choice indicated that Obama would not listen to the "wrong people" regarding the U.S.–Israel relationship. Some commentators opined that Emanuel would be good for the Israeli–Palestinian peace process because if Israeli leaders made excuses for not dismantling settlements, Emanuel would be tough and pressure the Israelis to comply. Some Palestinians expressed dismay at Emanuel's appointment.
In a 2009 article in The New York Times, Emanuel was characterized as being "perhaps the most influential chief of staff of a generation".
At a closed-door meeting in the White House with liberal activists, Emanuel called them "fucking retarded" for planning to run TV ads attacking conservative Democrats who didn't support Obama's health-care overhaul. In February 2010, Emanuel apologized to organizations for the mentally handicapped for using the word "retarded." He expressed his regret to Tim Shriver, the chief executive of the Special Olympics after the remark was reported in an article by The Wall Street Journal about growing liberal angst at Emanuel. The apology came as former Alaska Governor and conservative activist Sarah Palin called on President Obama to fire Emanuel via her Facebook page.
As Chief of Staff, Emanuel was known for his good sense of humor. During a staff meeting, when Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra gave uniformly upbeat reports, Emanuel is said to have looked at him and said: "Whatever you're taking, I want some." Emanuel had a hand in war strategy, political maneuvering, communications and economic policy. Bob Woodward wrote in Obama's Wars that Emanuel made a habit of telephoning CIA Director Leon Panetta and asking about the lethal drone strikes aimed at Al Qaeda, asking "Who did we get today?"
In 2010, Emanuel was reported to have conflicts with other senior members of the president's team and ideological clashes over policy. He was also the focal point of criticism from left-leaning Democrats for the administration's perceived move to the center. By September 2010, with the Democrats anticipating heavy losses in midterm elections, this was said to precipitate Emanuel's departure as Chief of Staff.
Mayor of Chicago
|Wikinews has related news: White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel steps down to run for Mayor of Chicago|
See also: Chicago mayoral election, 2011On September 30, 2010, it was announced that Emanuel would leave his post as White House Chief of Staff to run for Mayor of Chicago. He was replaced by Pete Rouse on October 2, 2010.
Emanuel's eligibility for office was challenged on the basis of his lack of residency in Chicago for one year prior to the election. The Board of Elections and the Cook County Circuit Court affirmed his eligibility. A divided Court of Appeals reversed the Circuit Court, holding on January 24, 2011, that residency for purposes of a candidate is different from residency for purposes of being a voter. A further appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court resulted in a unanimous decision reversing the Court of Appeals and affirming Emanuel's eligibility.
Emanuel's mayoral campaign was the inspiration for a satirical Twitter account, @MayorEmanuel, which received over 43,000 followers, more popular than Emanuel's actual Twitter account. Emanuel announced on February 28 that if the author would reveal himself, he would donate $5,000 to the charity of the author's choice. When Chicago journalist Dan Sinker revealed himself, Emanuel donated the money to Young Chicago Authors, a community organization which helps young people with writing and publishing skills.
 and was sworn in as the 55th Mayor of Chicago on May 16, 2011 at the Pritzker Pavilion. At his inauguration were outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley, Vice President Joe Biden, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and William M. Daley, brother of the outgoing mayor and who would later serve as White House Chief of Staff. Emanuel is Chicago's first Jewish mayor.
TenureEmanuel assembled a transition team from varied backgrounds. On August 16, 2011, Emanuel unveiled "Healthy Chicago," the city’s first-ever public health blueprint with the Chicago Department of Public Health's Commissioner Bechara Choucair. Emanuel initiated the consolidation of City Council committees from 19 to 16 in a cost control effort. On November 16, the city council voted unanimously to adopt the mayor's first budget, which decreased the budget by $34 million and increased spending by $46.2 million, supported by increasing fees and fines. Despite most Aldermen opposing cuts to library workers and the closure of mental health clinics, they ultimately supported it, calling it "honest".
Freedom of Information Act requests by The Chicago Tribune for various communication and information logs for himself and his staff, labelling it "unduly burdensome." After a second request by the Tribune, they were informed that 90 percent of the emails had been deleted by Emanuel and his top aides. As a result, Emanuel came under fire for going against his campaign promise to create "the most open, accountable, and transparent government that the City of Chicago has ever seen."
Controversy arose in 2011 over the tax-exempt status of Lollapalooza, an annual summer music festival in Grant Park. With Emanuel's brother Ari being the CEO of William Morris Endeavor, which co-owns the event, the Mayor asked the City Council to appoint an independent third party negotiator, to avoid having the negotiation seen as biased. Although the deal was reached before Emanuel took office, tax breaks must be negotiated every year. It was later revealed that the festival received its tax exemption for 2011 in the final days of the Daley administration. In 2012, Lollapalooza paid taxes for the first time in seven years and extended its contract to host in Grant Park through 2021.
In August 2012, a federal lawsuit was filed by eleven Chicago police officers alleging they were removed from the mayoral security detail and replaced with officers who worked on Emanuel's mayoral campaign, in violation of the 1983 Shakman Decree, which bars city officials from making political considerations in the hiring process.
On October 30, Emanuel voiced his support for the demolition of the abandoned Prentice Women's Hospital Building, in order for Northwestern University, which owns the property, to build a new facility. Preservationists supported historical landmark status. Days later, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks voted that the building met landmark status criteria then reversed their decision later in the same meeting. On November 15, a judge granted a temporary stay of the decision in order for a lawsuit filed by preservation coalitions against the landmark commission to be heard.
At a news conference in November 2012, Emanuel listed his top three priorities for the state legislature as security and pension reform, adding a casino to Chicago, and marriage equality. At a press conference with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who previously vetoed legislation to put a casino in Chicago, the two were "very close" to reaching a deal.
In an attempt to improve public health in Chicago, in 2013 Emanuel endorsed The Engine 2 Diet and made a public appearance with its author Rip Esselstyn.
Chicago Public Schools
See also: Chicago Teachers Union § 2012 strike
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 2012 Chicago teachers strike.|
On September 17, 2013, Emanuel's appointed Chicago Board of Education announced the closing of 50 Chicago public schools, 49 elementary schools and a high school – the largest school closure in Chicago history.