Mary Ann Smith

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Mary Ann Smith
Member of Chicago City Council
for the 48th ward
In office
Preceded byKathy Osterman
Succeeded byHarry Osterman
Personal details
SpouseRonald C. Smith
EducationMundelein College

Mary Ann Smith is a former alderman of the 48th ward of the City of Chicago; she was appointed in 1989 by Mayor Richard M. Daley to replace Kathy Osterman.[1] She won re-election in 1991, and was re-elected four more times before retiring in 2011.[2][3] She currently serves as a member of the Chicago Commission on Landmarks.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Smith attended Mundelein College, now a part of Loyola University Chicago, as an undergraduate student.[2] She and her husband have lived in Edgewater and Uptown since 1974.[2] Her engagement with ward politics began with her involvement in the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO), during which time she worked with activists Marion Volini and Kathy Osterman, who would both become alderwomen of the 48th ward.[2]

Aldermanic career[edit]

Smith became a Chicago alderman in 1989, being appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley.[6] She was reelected in 1991,[6] 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007. In 2010, she announced that she would not be seeking reelection in 2011, thus ending her tenure as alderman.[6]

Smith earned a United Nations Programme Award for Citizen Action to Protect the Global Environment. She worked with the Chicago Park District to restructure their department and provide more recreational access to all Chicagoans. Smith is on the Advisory Council on Chicago Green Development.[7]

In 2000, Smith helped organize the funding for Walkable Edgewater. Smith earned an award from the Chicago Civic Federation and a Soles and Spokes award from the Chicago Area Transportation Study.[citation needed]

Smith was an early supporter of the Human Rights Ordinance and the Domestic Partner Ordinance.[citation needed]

In 2005 Smith was instrumental in the controversial decision to open Rickover Naval Academy in the facilities of Senn High School. This decision met with intense opposition from residents and anti-war activists concerned about military recruitment of the community's poor.[8][9]

Smith worked with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to draft the proposed Elephant Protection Ordinance, which if adopted would mandate humane treatment of elephants within the city.[10][11] After two unsuccessful attempts at passage, Smith on December 16, 2009, for the third time introduced the ordinance.[12]

In 2007 Smith ran unopposed for re-election to a fifth term after Smith got two of her supporters, Susanne J. Henning and Albert L. Lewis, to file with the Chicago Board of Elections objections to her opponent's nominating paperwork.[13][14][15]

Smith was one of the top three alderman lagging in spending so-called "aldermanic menu" funds, which allows aldermen to choose from a menu of street, sidewalk, alley and anti-crime improvements.[16]

Smith appeared in the documentary Uptown: Portrait of a Palace about Chicago's Uptown Theatre.

On July 2, 2010, in response to the overturning of the Chicago handgun ban by the Supreme Court, she said "that law was written for militias and, "they guaranteed the right to carry around muskets not Uzis."[17]


Smith earned a United Nations Programme Award for Citizen Action to Protect the Global Environment, an award from the Chicago Civic Federation, and a Soles and Spokes award from the Chicago Area Transportation Study.[citation needed]

In 1997 Smith was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame as a Friend of the Community.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Smith is married to Robert C. Smith, who is a professor at John Marshall Law School.[2][7] They have two sons.[7]


  1. ^ Joravsky, Ben (2007-05-21). "Democracy, 48th-Ward style". [Chicago Reader]. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
  2. ^ a b c d e Kappel, Amber (October 2010). "Finding aid for Mary Ann Smith Papers 1978-2009" (PDF). Women and Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  3. ^ Chicago Election Results Archived 2007-02-27 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Kamin, Blair (29 July 2015). "Emanuel appoints 3 new members to city landmarks panel". Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  5. ^ "City of Chicago :: Commission on Chicago Landmarks". Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  6. ^ a b c Robinson, Kevin (6 August 2010). "48th Ward Ald. Mary Ann Smith Announces Retirement". The Chicagoist. Archived from the original on 6 November 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Institute of Pastoral Studies. "Mary Ann Smith". Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  8. ^ Joravsky, Ben (2004-10-14). "School for Sale; When the navy came knocking with more than $2 million, the Board of Ed decided Senn High School would be a great place to install a military academy. But teachers, parents, and students there didn't see it that way". [Chicago Reader]. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
  9. ^ Joravsky, Ben (2004-12-16). "Senn's Last Stand; Mayor Daley thinks a naval academy at the school would be just fine. Guess that's the end of that discussion". [Chicago Reader]. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
  10. ^ PETA's Elephant Protection Ordinance page
  11. ^ Mihalopoulos, Dan (2008-11-12). "Anti-elephant vote means no more cookies for aldermen". [Chicago Tribune]. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
  12. ^ Spielman, Fran (2009-12-17). "Alderman re-introduces elephant cruelty ordinance". [Chicago Sun-Times]. Archived from the original on 2009-12-20. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
  13. ^ Joravsky, Ben (2007-01-11). "When in Doubt, Read the Manual; Screwups by two aldermanic challengers in the 48th Ward leave incumbent Mary Ann Smith in the catbird seat". [Chicago Reader]. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
  14. ^ Joravsky, Ben (2007-02-05). "Making a federal case out of it". [Chicago Reader]. Retrieved 2010-03-03.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Dardick, Hal (2009-08-15). "What's in Chicago aldermanic expense accounts?". [Chicago Tribune]. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
  16. ^ Spielman, Fran (2010-01-21). "Aldermen lagging in spending $1.3M; 13 leave at least $500K unspent on street, sidewalk repair". [Chicago Sun-Times]. Archived from the original on 2010-02-25. Retrieved 2010-03-03.
  17. ^ Pallasch, Abdon M. (2010-07-02). "Chicago approves new handgun restrictions". [Chicago Sun-Times]. Archived from the original on 2010-07-05. Retrieved 2010-07-02.
  18. ^ "Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2016-01-10.

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