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Ald. Brookins new head of Council Black Caucus

Updated: June 22, 2011 6:59PM

Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) was chosen by his colleagues on Wednesday to chair the City Council’s Black Caucus, promising to fight to preserve the number of Council seats held by black aldermen, redeploy police officers to high-crime areas and bolster the share of city contracts awarded to African-Americans.

Brookins replaces Ald. Walter Burnett (27th), who resigned the leadership post earlier this year after alienating his colleagues by putting them on the spot on the issue of affordable housing.

Brookins said his top priority is to preserve the 19 City Council seats now held by black aldermen when new ward lines are drawn to reflect the 180,000 black residents lost in the 2010 U.S. Census. He acknowledged that losing seats was a distinct possibility.

But he said, “We have natural allies in the City Council, and so we have a significant bloc of votes. I’m hoping we won’t lose the 19 we already occupy.”

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