HomeChinese AmericanNicole Lee Becomes Chicago's First Asian American Alderwoman

Nicole Lee Becomes Chicago’s First Asian American Alderwoman

Nicole Lee took her seat as Chicago’s first Asian American alderwoman on Monday, CBS News reports.

Lee was appointed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot as the new alderman for the 11th Ward last week. Yesterday, the city council voted unanimously to confirm Lee, KXXV reports.

“You’re going to add a significant and important voice, and a representative voice, to the discussion of City Council that is very important to our region, our state, our country,” Ald. Michael Rodriguez (22nd) said during Lee’s confirmation hearing before the Rules Committee, according to CBS News.

The 11th ward will likely be the city’s first Asian American majority ward, CBS News reports. According to KXXV, the city’s AAPI population has increased by 31 percent.

Grace Chan McKibben, the executive director of the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, told KXXV it is important for communities of color to be represented in city politics.

“At the end of the day, It’s about ensuring that the needs and concerns of communities are being represented,” McKibben said.

Lee has spent the past decade working as a United Airlines executive, CBS News reports. She was inspired to become an alderman by her father Gene Lee, who served as deputy chief of staff under former Mayor Richard M. Daley. Lee’s father pleaded guilty to stealing money donated to a charity. The case was not connected with his work for the mayor.

Lee told CBS News that her priority for the city is safety.

“The next top priority for me is safety,” Lee said. “I think anybody that lives in the city understands that: Safety, safety, safety.”

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