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Richard M. Daley

One of the most powerful and influential of America's big-city mayors, Richard M. Daley served six terms as Chicago's mayor. First elected in 1989, Daley was the longest-serving mayor in Chicago history, eclipsing the record set by his father, mentor and role model, the late Mayor Richard J. Daley. Richard M. Daley chose not to run for re-election in the 2011 campaign.

A former state legislator and Cook County state's attorney, Daley built a multiethnic, multiracial coalition that kept him in power, even as the strength and influence of the once legendary county Democratic machine waned. Daley worked to revamp and improve the city's public school system, overhauled public housing an...
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One of the most powerful and influential of America's big-city mayors, Richard M. Daley served six terms as Chicago's mayor. First elected in 1989, Daley was the longest-serving mayor in Chicago history, eclipsing the record set by his father, mentor and role model, the late Mayor Richard J. Daley. Richard M. Daley chose not to run for re-election in the 2011 campaign.

A former state legislator and Cook County state's attorney, Daley built a multiethnic, multiracial coalition that kept him in power, even as the strength and influence of the once legendary county Democratic machine waned. Daley worked to revamp and improve the city's public school system, overhauled public housing and invested heavily in the city's infrastructure in projects ranging from Millennium Park to the expansion of O'Hare International Airport. He also launched a beautification effort that included wrought-iron fencing on public properties and installation of planters, trees and landscaping citywide. Daley's time at the helm also was marked by federal investigations that uncovered contracting irregularities and what prosecutors called "massive fraud" in hiring and promotions designed to reward political loyalists. A top aide was sentenced to prison in the personnel scheme.
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Top Richard M. Daley Articles

Displaying items 85-96
  • Theater brought out the romantic in Daley

    Richard Daley's clearly heartfelt love of the theater was one of the more surprising of the mayoral passions. But the evidence for its existence was everywhere. I remember Daley hosting a conference of suburban mayors at a performance of "Jersey Boys"...
  • When Daley went all-in for Olympics

    I repeatedly asked Mayor Richard Daley two questions about the 2016 Olympics. One was why Daley had changed his mind on an event he once dismissed as a con game played on bidding cities; he never answered. The other had to do with meeting the...
  • When the mayor bulldozed an airport

    The signature act of Richard Daley's 22 years in office was the midnight bulldozing of Meigs Field. I woke to the news the following morning, March 31, 2003, with a roiling brew of emotions that encapsulates my overall attitude toward his reign:...
  • Daley's first City Council meeting

    You don't think of Mayor Richard Daley as a City Council greenhorn. But on April 26, 1989, that's what he was. His first City Council meeting brought out an audience; people waited in line for seats. They saw a quiet show. A police officer was honored...
  • Annoyingly talented

    Annoyingly talented
    You know what's annoying? Experimental short stories. You know what else is annoying? Adam Levin. He is 35 and grew up on the North Shore. He is talented and can't do anything half- way, which makes him frustratingly, endearingly bold, the twin...
  • John Kass: Chicago Democrats a protected species on the national stage

    Prominent Chicago Democrats have had an easy time with the national media for decades -- as easy as shaking a ring of keys to distract an anxious child in church. Former Mayor Richard M. Daley rode a bicycle in photo ops and put a few plants on the...
  • How Sen. Alan Dixon gave us President Barack Obama

     How Sen. Alan Dixon gave us President Barack Obama
    Clarence Thomas didn't need Alan Dixon's vote, as it turned out. Thomas, a 43-year-old conservative U.S. Supreme Court nominee in fall 1991, had just undergone a sensational, brutal confirmation hearing in which he'd been confronted with allegations...
  • Millennium Park: 10 years old and a boon for art, commerce and the cityscape

     Millennium Park: 10 years old and a boon for art, commerce and the cityscape
    Millennium Park, which turns 10 Wednesday, is the best thing former Mayor Richard M. Daley ever did. But as this month's titillating trial over a controversial contract for the Park Grill shows, the popular park has never fully detached itself from...
  • Chicago peddles bike-friendly image

    Chicago peddles bike-friendly image
    For years, these were the faces of biking in Chicago: messengers weaving frantically through downtown traffic, spandex-clad guys racing 21-speeds down the lakefront trail, tattooed 20-somethings zipping coolly along Milwaukee Avenue. It was a small,...
  • In Chicago, an anybody-but-Rahm drumbeat begins

     In Chicago, an anybody-but-Rahm drumbeat begins
    An anybody-but-Rahm movement is growing in Chicago, making big trouble for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. A new Tribune poll shows his approval rating has dropped like a stone, and now stands at an anemic 35 percent. Chicago Teachers Union President Karen...
  • John Kass: 'Obama: Like a Boss' -- bumper sticker for a true Chicagoan

    The Democrats have it all wrong when it comes to one of their choices for a new President Barack Obama bumper sticker: "Like a Boss." The Democrats foolishly think the phrase derives from an old rap song denoting cool competence. "Like a bowse" is how...
  • 'Obama: Like a Boss' — bumper sticker for a true Chicagoan

     'Obama: Like a Boss' — bumper sticker for a true Chicagoan
    The Democrats have it all wrong when it comes to one of their choices for a new President Barack Obama bumper sticker: "Like a Boss." The Democrats foolishly think the phrase derives from an old rap song denoting cool competence. "Like a bowse" is how...