Rahm Emanuel Picks Replacement for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Wife on Chicago City Council

Natashia L. Holmes, from Florida, is indeed a fresh face in Chicago politics, Mary Mitchell writes in her Chicago Sun-Times column. The replacement for embattled Alderman Sandi Jackson represents a much needed departure from the way political power is too often passed down.

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Sandi Jackson (substancenews.net)

Natashia L. Holmes, from Melbourne, Fla., is indeed a fresh face in Chicago politics, Mary Mitchell writes in her Chicago Sun-Times column, saying that the replacement for embattled Alderman Sandi Jackson represents a much needed departure from the way political power is too often passed down.

The 37-year-old Holmes is a transplant from Melbourne, Fla. Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced her at a news conference Monday as his choice to fill former 7th Ward Ald. Sandi Jackson's seat.

Emanuel made it clear that his appointment of Holmes is an attempt to move away from a system where clout-heavy family dynasties can control politics in the ward.

For instance, when William Beavers resigned as alderman to sit on the Cook County Board, he left the seat to his daughter, Darcel Beavers.

With the help of her husband, former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., Sandi Jackson pushed out Beavers.

"[Holmes] does not come out of either families or histories or institutions," Emanuel said. "This is a clear break and a new beginning" ...

This was Emanuel's first crack at filling a vacant aldermanic seat. He certainly could have continued the Chicago way by appointing someone on an inside track.

Instead, he set up a selection committee that included community stakeholders that have to report back to their neighbors and friends.

Everyone won't be happy, especially since 65 people lined up to apply for the job.

But from all appearances, the process gave people with no political connections a fair shot.