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Monique Scott sworn in as new 24th Ward alderwoman in Chicago

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CHICAGO (CBS) -- Monique Scott was sworn in Wednesday as the new alderwoman in the 24th Ward on the West Side, after the City Council unanimously approved her appointment to replace her brother, Michael Scott Jr., who resigned from that seat earlier this month.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot appointed Monique Scott to the vacant 24th Ward seat on Monday, picking her from among three finalists, after a pool of 19 people applied from the job.

Scott will now serve as the alderwoman of the 24th Ward until the next municipal election in 2023, although she made clear she intends to run for a full term next year as she thanked the rest of the City Council for their support on Wednesday.

"You all are my role models, and I will continue to look to you for advice or counsel during these next challenging months, I'm sure, and over the next four years, hopefully. Not hopefully — over the next four years," Scott told her fellow alderpersons.

Scott said her top priorities are improving public safety, boosting economic development, and ushering in the next generation of leaders in the North Lawndale area.

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Monique Scott was sworn in as the new alderwoman of the 24th Ward in Chicago on June 22, 2023, replacing her brother, who had resigned from the seat earlier in the month. City of Chicago

On Tuesday, Lightfoot shrugged off criticism of Scott's appointment being an example of political nepotism, saying Scott "really rose to the top" of the list of candidates on her own merits.

"It's not the fact that she is the alderman's sister. It's that she's born and raised in the ward, absolutely knows the crucial issues that are important for that ward, and is committed to making sure that we move those forward," Lightfoot said. "It's an easy, frankly lazy throwaway to say, 'Oh, it's just the alderman's sister.' Look at who she is, look at what she's been able to do with her life, look at how committed she is to the 24th Ward and the residents of North Lawndale, and then make your assessment. That's what I did."

Lightfoot said she knew the appointment would prompt some people to criticize the move as political nepotism, but she said she wanted to make sure the former alderman's successor would be able to maintain the progress he's made in improving the ward's economic development.

"I heard and I knew, of course, that the narrative would be, 'Oh, this is the same old same old, this is appointing an insider, blah blah blah.' What was important for me in thinking about the 24th Ward – and particularly given the level of progress that's been made over the last few years, and I will say over the last three years that I've been mayor – all the economic development activity that has happened in that ward is really critically important for me to make sure that that momentum continued," Lightfoot said.

At Wednesday's City Council meeting, Ald. David Moore (17th) defended Scott's appointment, saying it wouldn't be fair to prevent her from taking over as the new 24th Ward alderwoman just because her brother was the previous alderman.

"Your resume undoubtedly speaks for itself," Moore said. "And so, you stand on your own two feet. And I just wanted to make sure we express that because we always talk about succession planning and succession planning starts at home."

Scott's brother resigned as the 24th Ward alderman earlier this month to take a job as director of industry and community relations at Chicago film studio Cinespace.

After 19 people applied to replace him, a four-member selection committee recommended a list of finalists for the seat before Lightfoot picked his sister. According to published reports, the other finalists included Trina Mangrum, the chief of staff to Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), and former Chicago Bulls player Wallace "Mickey" Johnson.

Monique Scott is Lightfoot's second appointment to the City Council. Earlier this year, the mayor chose Nicole Lee as the city's first Chinese American alderperson, to replace convicted former Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson in the 11th Ward.

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