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Freshman Alderman Basks In Glow Of Historic Day

Ald. Ameya Pawar

Ald. Ameya Pawar

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UPDATED 05/18/11 6:22 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Nothing could dampen Ald. Ameya Pawar’s enthusiasm over his first city council meeting –not even his inability to get into his City Hall office because it wasn’t quite ready.

The council has 13 new members, including Pawar, who’s breaking new ground.

“It was emotional,” Pawar told CBS 2’s Jim Williams. “There was a lot of excitement. [It is] just an honor to serve the residents of the 47th Ward in the City of Chicago.”

His victory in February was shocking. This son of immigrants beat a heavily favored opponent. At only 30 years old, he became Chicago’s first Asian-American and Indian-American alderman.

Pawar was showed photos of other pioneers– the city’s first black, Hispanic and female aldermen. He was reminded that his photo would go into that montage someday.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “It really is amazing.”

But Pawar is not comfortable with a “pioneer” label. Instead he’d rather focus on his work.

His ward office is in an old record shop. There has been no time yet to put up signs.

Yet, already constituents are making requests.

“There are basic things you have to learn how to do,” Pawar said. “How do you learn how to be an alderman? Some of it is understanding there are rules and procedures in how we voucher and how we run our office. There’s ethics training, but also learning the legislative process.”