Color photograph of a woman with pinkish yellow text on top
Jane Byrne served as 50th Mayor of Chicago, the only woman to hold the position. First entering politics as a volunteer for John F. Kennedy’s 1960 Presidential campaign, Byrne became head of the Consumer Affairs Department of Chicago in 1968. Byrne campaigned to be Mayor of Chicago in the 1979 election against incumbent Michael Bilandic. Against the odds, Byrne won the election and became mayor in 1979. Many cite her victory as a reaction to Bilandic's ineffective leadership in response to a blizzard that occurred during the campaign. Byrne’s term as mayor was characterized by social reforms including recognition of the LGBT community and instituting a ban on unregistered handguns in Chicago. Byrne is perhaps most well known for temporarily moving into the Cabrini-Green housing project, in an effort to highlight the dangerous living conditions in Chicago's public housing.
Byrne ran for re-election in 1983, but lost to Harold Washington. She ran for mayor three more times, but lost each time. Byrne died in 2014, after which the Circle Interchange in downtown Chicago was renamed the Jane Byrne Interchange in her honor.
Jane Byrne. (n.d.). Retrieved November 1, 2015 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Byrne.