Rahm Israel Emanuel (/ˈrɑːm/; born November 29, 1959) is an American politician who serves as the 55th mayor of Chicago. A member of the Democratic Party, Emanuel was elected in 2011, becoming Chicago's first Jewish mayor. He was reelected on April 7, 2015.
Born in Chicago, Emanuel is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and Northwestern University. Working early in his career in Democratic politics, Emanuel was appointed as director of the finance committee for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. In 1993, he joined the Clinton administration, where he served as the assistant to the president for political affairs and as the senior advisor to the president for policy and strategy before resigning, in 1998. Beginning a career in finance, Emanuel worked at the investment bank Wasserstein Perella & Co. from 1998 for 2 1/2 years and served on the board of directors of Freddie Mac.
In 2002, Emanuel ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives vacated by Rod Blagojevich, who resigned to become governor of Illinois. Emanuel won the first of three terms representing Illinois's 5th congressional district, a seat he held from 2003 to 2009. During his tenure in the House, Emanuel held two Democratic leadership positions, serving as the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee from 2005 to 2007 and as the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, from 2007 to 2009. After the 2008 presidential election, President Barack Obama appointed Emanuel to serve as White House chief of staff.
In October 2010, Emanuel resigned as chief of staff to run as a candidate in Chicago's 2011 mayoral election. Because of questions over his eligibility to run for mayor, Emanuel's candidacy was initially rejected by the Illinois First District Appellate Court, though he was later found eligible to run in a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court of Illinois. Emanuel won with 55% of the vote over five other candidates in the nonpartisan mayoral election, succeeding 22-year incumbent Richard M. Daley. Although Emanuel did not obtain an absolute majority in the February 2015 mayoral election, he defeated Cook County Board Commissioner Jesús "Chuy" García in the April 7 runoff election.
Since November 2015 Emanuel's approval rating has plunged in response to a series of scandals, most directly the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, the city's subsequent attempts to withhold a video of the shooting, and the lack of an investigation into the matter. In early December the federal Justice Department announced an investigation into the operations of the Chicago police department, a move which Emanuel initially opposed. By December over half of Chicagoans favored Emanuel's resignation, with highly critical evaluations of the mayor appearing in such sources as The New York Times and The New Yorker, and coming from such figures as the Reverend Al Sharpton.
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