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Keep Chicago Safe

Keep Chicago Safe Chicago Button Museum
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Keep Chicago Safe button back Chicago Button Museum
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Blue and white text over a red Y shape with white above and blue below and an image of a person's face at the top

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Edward Kelly was the 46th Mayor of Chicago, serving from April 17, 1933 to April 15, 1947. Before being elected, Kelly was the Chief Engineer of the Chicago Sanitary District. He was elected over Republican George McKibbin, the Illinois Finance Director, following the assassination of Mayor Anton Cermak.

Kelly was nominated by Patrick Nash, Chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, and together, Kelly and Nash built the "Kelly-Nash Machine." This was a powerful and corrupt political organization that controlled which contracts and kickbacks were given for various city projects. At the end of his term in 1947, Kelly wanted to run again but bowed out of the competition amid accusations of wide-spread corruption in his administration. However, corruption was not the only factor against him. Over the preceding decade, gambling and organized crime in the city had run rampant. Plus, Kelly held progressive views on race, especially relating to housing, which led party leaders to consider him a liability.


Kelly-Nash Machine. (n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2019, from

Rudin, K. (2009, April 06). On This Day In 1943: Chicago Re-Elects Mayor Edward Kelly. Retrieved March 28, 2019, from

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