Byrne, Jane,1934–2014, American politician, b. Chicago as Margaret Jane Burke. She was Chicago's consumer sales commissioner (1968–77) under Mayor Richard DaleyDaley, Richard Joseph,
1902–76, U.S. political leader, b. Chicago. Admitted to the bar in 1933, he entered politics and served as a Democrat in the state assembly (1936–38) and the state senate (1939–46) and as director of revenues for Illinois (1949–50)
..... Click the link for more information. before she became the first woman to win election (1979) as mayor of the city, having defeated Michael Bilandic, Daley's successor, in the Democratic primary. During Byrne's single term, the city faced severe financial problems. In 1983 she ran for reelection but lost the primary to Harold WashingtonWashington, Harold Lee,
1922–87, African-American politician, b. Chicago. A lawyer, he entered Illinois state government in 1965 as a Democratic representative, becoming state senator in 1976. In 1980 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
..... Click the link for more information. . She unsuccessfully challeged Washington in the 1987 Democratic primary.
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Byrne, Jane (b. Burke)(1934– ) mayor; born in Chicago. She worked in Chicago's antipoverty program (1963–68) and then as city consumer sales commissioner under Mayor Richard Daley (1968–77). She defeated the Democratic machine's candidate in the primary and as mayor of Chicago (1980–84) became the first woman to head a major American city. The city experienced serious financial problems during her tenure and she lost in the 1983 Democratic primary to Representative Harold Washington, who became the first African-American mayor of Chicago; he defeated her again in 1987. In the 1991 election, she unsuccessfully challenged Mayor Richard M. Daley Jr.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.