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Emanuel Names Natashia L. Holmes As New 7th Ward Alderman

By Chuck Sudo in News on Feb 11, 2013 8:40PM

New 7th Ward Ald. Natashia Holmes. (Photo via Holmes's profile at Metro Strategies.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has selected Natashia L. Holmes to replace Sandi Jackson as Seventh Ward Alderman. Emanuel announced Holmes’s appointment in a press release and said she’ll “bring professionalism and a strong sense of the needs of the community to the position and I am confident that she will be a steadfast advocate for the residents of the seventh ward.”

Holmes’s resume lists a series of jobs in government planning, with a focus in transportation. She currently works on public outreach and government relations projects for Metro Strategies, a Glen Ellyn-based consulting firm specializing in public affairs, policy research and planning initiatives for groups ranging from nonprofits to government entities. Holmes was formerly a policy advisor for the Illinois Department of Transportation, working to develop coordination between transit and rail programs; a senior transportation associate at the Metropolitan Planning Council; and a transportation planning liaison for the Dupage Mayors and Managers Conference. She holds a master's degree in community planning from Auburn University’s College of Architecture, Design and Construction and a law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Institute of Technology.

Holmes’s educational background, experience working as a policy analyst and her community activism were what stood out to the search committee charged by the mayor with finding qualified finalists to replace Jackson and, ultimately, Emanuel.

The mayor told the Sun-Times:

“She has a great educational background. Urban planner. Was elected to the school board. And I think the people of that community will have a voice and somebody actively involved in helping deal with the issues — from education to crime to economic development in the neighborhood.”

Holmes’s selection also shut out the two families who have dominated Seventh Ward politics for years who have fallen on some hard times of late. Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. signed a plea deal to misuse of campaign funds last week and may serve jail time. Sandi Jackson is under investigation by federal authorities for possible misuse of campaign funds. Longtime Cook County Commissioner William Beavers is set to stand trial for tax evasion.

After her resignation, Sandi Jackson told supporters in a conference call that she would push for her chief of staff to succeed her as alderman.

Holmes will be presented before the City Council Rules Committee and sworn in at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.