Mayor Richard Daley has appointed Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado as the new alderman of Chicago's 26th Ward, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Maldonado, 57, replaces former alderman Billy Ocasio, who now works for Gov. Pat Quinn.
The entire selection process was initially a source of concern for the LGBT community because one of the people who was reportedly under consideration was Rev. Wilfredo de Jesus, whose background seemed to indicate that he was anti-gay. However, he recently withdrew, allegedly because he did not reside in the 26th Ward. Ocasio subsequently recommended his wife, Veronica, for the position.
Daley indicated that he interviewed approximately five candidates, the Tribune reported. When asked why he did not select Veronica Ocasio, he responded, "Why did I pick Maldonado. That's the question," citing the commissioner's knowledge of the district and his experience.
In his acceptance speech, Maldonado said, in part, "As a Cook County Commissioner I have fought hard to bring fairness and equality to all the people of Cook County, regardless of race, sexual orientation, immigration status, or income. I will bring that same passion and progressive thinking to my new role as Alderman."
In 2003, Windy City Times reported that Maldonado was among the commissioners who helped pass a domestic-partner registry. "If the gay and lesbian community feels that this is just one little step in reducing discrimination against that community, I support this ordinance," Maldonado said at the time.