CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed former Chicago Urban League president Andrea Zopp as a deputy mayor, and tasked her with focusing on improving economic development in the city’s struggling neighborhoods.
Zopp, a former member of the mayor’s handpicked school board, becomes Emanuel’s second deputy mayor, and also will have the title of chief neighborhood development officer.
Deputy Mayor Steve Koch will remain in his position, overseeing the mayor’s financial team and economic policy.
Zopp said she will make sure there are jobs and economic development in the most challenged areas of the city.
“In every neighborhood there’s incredible promise and potential. Chicago will only reach its full potential as a city when we unleash every neighborhood,” he said.
Emanuel denied Zopp’s appointment is an attempt to shore up his credibility in the African American community.
“It’s not about my credibility. It’s about making sure that people in Englewood have a grocery store … which will be opening up this September,” he said.
Zopp said her experience leading the Chicago Urban League would be a vital asset in maximizing neighborhood investments.
“We worked with the city on the CTA Red Line South project; and making sure that that project hired people from the community, created jobs for people in the community, hired businesses – minority businesses – so that they could not only work on that project but then invest that business back in the community. So that’s the kind of work that I’m going to continue to do in this role,” she said.
Zopp recently lost a three-way race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth defeated Zopp and Illinois State Sen. Napoleon Harris in the March primary.