CHICAGO (CBS) — Richard Irvin, a former Kane County prosecutor, is about to become the mayor of Aurora.
“I used to want to be President of the United States,” Irvin says with a chuckle. “I knew that I would run for office — I didn’t know what that office would be, how I’d get there. I just knew I would.”
Irvin spent his formative years in public housing, as the son of a single mother. He said he certainly wasn’t thinking about being a mayor back then.
“I barely saw graduating high school in my future. Matter of fact, I remember begging my Spanish teacher for a D instead of an F so I could walk with my classmates. He gave me a D-minus; evidently that was enough to graduate.”
After graduating, Irvin joined the Military and served in Operation Desert Storm, which he says was a turning point. “Serving in a war made me who I am today. It started me off on public service.”
Irvin went to college at Robert Morris University and received his law degree from Northern Illinois University. And today, at 47-years-old, he becomes the first African American mayor of Illinois’ second-largest city, where only 8 percent of the population is black.
“I think the significance of it is it shows young kids, who grew up in the same circumstances I did, if you can dream about it, you can do it,” Irwin said.
Irvin said he finds the experience humbling. “Now I have to execute.”
The mayor wants to develop the riverfront to stimulate the economy and work with neighboring communities.
He becomes the 57th mayor of Aurora.