Picked from a crowded field five months ago by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Ald. Sophia King touts 30 years of experience within the community and a rolodex of powerful South Side connections, including the Obamas. But since her appointment, King has kept a low profile–opting to host and attend dozens of community meetings, and making only a few waves in committee meetings. She has pushed developers to provide on-site affordable housing, delayed a $100M beach parking lot until she knew residents could park there, and voted no to $3.5 billion in bonds for O’Hare Airport over minority contracting issues.
In a lengthy interview with The Daily Line after passing her 100 day anniversary on the job, King points out that her ward–which stretches south from the Museum Campus to Bronzeville, Oakland, Kenwood, Hyde Park, and South Side–is a diverse one. There are a lot of constituencies to please: residents in the booming South Loop, business owners in underutilized retail corridors, and organized interests like the Kenwood-Oakland Community Organization (KOCO), not to mention the push and pull of being in Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s home turf while being a political appointee of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
She appears to be keeping her head down, working on a strategic ward plan and talking to LSCs, principals, and block clubs, even as challengers begin to emerge for the February 28 special election. While the petition process doesn’t wrap until the end of November, there are already candidate forums starting up. 17 others applied for the open 4th Ward position after Ald. Will Burns’ abrupt exit to lobby for Airbnb last spring, and many are expected to come out again. Local activist and mayoral critic Gregory Seal Livingston has already announced his candidacy, lambasting Mayor Emanuel’s police plan and using the hashtag #RahmsDaddy.