Patrick J. O’Connor has been fighting for the people of Chicago for over 29 years. He has used his abilities as a lawyer, community leader and alderman to advocate for change and to improve our public school system, create new jobs and promote economic development, improve our health care system, keep our neighborhoods safe, and rebuild our infrastructure.
Pat is a lifelong resident of the northwest side of Chicago and has represented the city’s 40th Ward in the City Council since 1983. In his years contributing to the City Council’s work, Pat has distinguished himself as a leader committed to improving education, economic development and public safety. He has a solid reputation for honesty and personal integrity.
In his years of public service, Pat has always stood up for what is right and best for the people he serves, even when it is not the popular political choice with Democratic Party leadership. In 1984 Pat was the first city of Chicago Democratic Committeeman to break from the party and endorse the late Paul Simon, a social progressive and fiscal conservative, in the U.S. Senate democratic primary.
Pat has worked with the residents of the 40th Ward in securing millions of dollars which were needed to build and rehab schools; acquire, build and rehab parks as well as build a new library, firehouse and police stations. Over the past 29 years Pat has instituted Town Hall Meetings in which he goes out into the various communities to hear and address concerns of neighborhood residents.
For over 20 years, Pat served as the Chairman of the Committee on Education and Child Development, where he worked with Mayor Daley, Paul Vallas, Gery Chico, and Arne Duncan on Chicago’s public school reform movement. Nationally recognized as a leader in public education, Pat O’Connor has received countless awards from teachers and school administrators alike. In his first year as Education Chairman, Pat was a key figure in negotiating a settlement to the longest teachers’ strike in more than three decades. He has established a reputation for bipartisanship and an ability to find new solutions to longstanding problems. His efforts as an advocate for education funding in Springfield have resulted in better pay for teachers and an unprecedented period of cooperation between the Chicago Board of Education and labor unions that serve the school children of Chicago. Pat was one of the founding members of the National League of Cities Institute on Youth Education and Families, headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Pat then served as Chairman of Traffic Control and Safety from 2008 – 2011 and has since been named Chairman of the newly created Workforce Development and Audit Committee. As part of an effort to streamline the committees of City Council, the committee is now one of 16 (as opposed to the previous 19 committees). The new committee will focus its efforts on the city’s labor force and regulations affecting labor. This committee was specifically created to deal with oversight of the numerous workforce issues which exist within the City. In this new role, Pat will be instrumental in working with Mayor Emanuel to create a more efficient and cost effective city government. He also serves as vice-chair for the Committee on Finance and is an active member of the Aviation, Budget and Government Operations, Education and Child Development, and Rules and Ethics Committees.
As the son of Irish immigrants, Pat has always understood the need for good jobs that pay a living wage. As an elected official, he has been an advocate for small business owners and has made community economic development a top priority. He has always supported equal pay for equal work. Pat currently serves on the Chicago Plan Commission, an advisory body that reviews all substantial development proposals in the city.
Pat O’Connor was instrumental in bringing Northside College Prep to the northwest side of Chicago, a school which has distinguished itself academically as the top high school in the state of Illinois. Additionally, Alderman O’Connor has led the way in building new police and fire stations and new libraries. He has passed legislation mandating that city establishments which serve alcohol warn pregnant women about the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant (fetal alcohol syndrome) and fought for neighborhood and school-based health care clinics. Pat O’Connor believes that focusing on economic development, jobs, education, infrastructure, and health care is the best route to ensure every citizen’s good quality of life and chance at the American Dream.
Pat’s law practice has been concentrated for the past ten years in the neighborhood banking industry, and he has the capacity to be a leader on legislation dealing with financial institutions.
Pat's Irish heritage hails from Mayo through his maternal grandfather, and his father, a well known figure in the Irish community in Chicago for decades, who was born and raised in Killarney, County Kerry. Pat and his brothers played Gaelic Football for St. Pat's Club in the 70s and early 80s.
Pat graduated from Mather High School and earned his B.A. and law degrees from Loyola University of Chicago. He is the proud husband of Barbara and father of five children, Hilary, Patrick, Claire, Courtney and Moira. He resides in the Budlong Woods neighborhood and is an active member of St. Hilary’s Catholic Church. He is integrally engaged in neighborhood, civic and community organizations and activities.
Alderman O’Connor would like to thank the following organizations for their endorsement of his continued candidacy for Alderman of the 40th Ward, and he looks forward to working alongside these organizations in his ongoing efforts to improve the quality of life for residents of the 40th Ward and the City of Chicago.
• Chicago Fraternal Order of Police
• Chicago Firefighters Union
• Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
• Chicago Federation of Labor
• Cook County College Teachers Union Local 1600
• Jewish Chicago
• Teamsters Local 700
• United Helenic Voters of America