CHICAGO (CBS) — In one of his first acts after leaving the White House, former President Barack Obama has endorsed longtime friend Sophia King in the special election for alderman in his home ward on the South Side.

King has been serving as alderman of the 4th Ward since April 2016, after Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed her to fill the vacancy of Will Burns, who resigned to take a job as Midwest policy director and senior advisor for Airbnb.

“I am honored to have the support of President Obama,” said Ald. King. “His time in office inspired me and many others to take the next step in working for our community by entering public service.”

King and her husband, attorney and DJ Alan King, are longtime friends of Obama.

“Michelle and I have known Sophia many years as a leader dedicated to improving her community. Over the years, Sophia has worked to make neighborhood schools and communities better,” President Obama said in a statement provided by King’s campaign. “Sophia is the type of leader Chicago and the 4th Ward need.”

Obama still owns a home in the 4th Ward, in the Kenwood neighborhood, though he and his wife have said they plan to remain in Washington, D.C., while their younger daughter, Sasha, finishes high school.

King is running against four other candidates in a special election to complete the remaining two years of Burns’ term in the 4th Ward: Ebony Lucas, Marcellus H. Moore, Jr., Gregory Livingston and Gerald Scott McCarthy.

The special election for the seat will be held on Feb. 28. If no candidate wins a majority of the votes, there will be a runoff election between the top two candidates on April 4.

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