Chicago City Council meeting gets heated over vote to make retired Alderman James Cappleman Education Committee chair


CHICAGO (WLS) — Mayoral politics took center stage Wednesday during the Chicago City Council meeting.

Alderwoman Sophia King, who’s among the field challenging Mayor Lori Lightfoot in next year’s election, traded barbs with the mayor.

It all centered on the fight over a committee chairmanship.

A routine city council meeting suddenly turned testy when the mayor called for a vote to install retiring Alderman James Cappleman into the vacant position of chairman of the Education Committee.

That failed by an 18-29 vote.

WATCH: Mayor Lightfoot speaks after City Council meeting

Mayoral Candidate, 4th Ward Alderwoman Sophia King, is the vice chair of the committee and wanted the position. She had been pushing for CPS CEO Pedro Martinez to commit to quarterly updates for the council.

“I am the acting chair,” Ald. King said. “I’ve reached out to the CEO [and] he has not returned my call. I assume it’s under your orders. This is just not how government should be working.”

“Alderwoman King, don’t make that assumption and that’s not appropriate,” Mayor Lightfoot fired back.

Things only escalated from there.

“Quite frankly, if you would spend more time attacking problems instead of people, we’d be much better off,” King said.

“Alderman King, you’re out of order and I’m not going to let you make a political speech on the floor because of your aspirations,” Lightfoot rebutted.

After the exchange, King denying any political motives, blaming the mayor.

“She started it,” King said. “She chose to attack me because I want to bring the CEO in to talk about Chicago public schools. That’s within my right is acting chair. So now you’re going to appoint a new chair so that we don’t hear from CPS. Who’s playing politics?”

RELATED: Chicago mayor, city treasurer and city clerk could get pay raises under new proposed ordinance

The mayor said the vote against her choice of Cappleman was a reflection of the current political environment.

“Jim Cappleman is a good, good man. He is a former teacher himself. He has tons of experience in education, a compassionate heart and is somebody that I have total confidence in,” Lightfoot said. “So today, what happened was politics at work.”

While Lightfoot lost this battle to make Cappleman the education chair, the fight is not over and she said she is confident that it will eventually happen.

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