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Jane Byrne

Jane Margaret Byrne (born May 24, 1934) was the first female Mayor of Chicago, Illinois.

Mayoral Term: April 16, 1979 - April 29, 1983

Jane Byrne first entered politics to help John F. Kennedy get elected President. It was at that time that she first met Mayor Richard J. Daley, who, in 1968, appointed her head of consumer affairs in Chicago, a post she would hold until fired by Michael Bilandic in 1977. Byrne used her firing to launch an attack on Bilandic in the 1978 mayoral primary. Although most people gave her little chance of winning, a series of freak snowstorms in January which paralyzed the city, gave her the edge she needed since Bilandic was seen as not being able to keep the city working. As mayor, Jane Byrne moved, amidst much publicity, into the Cabrini Green Housing Projects as part of a plan to eradicate crime in the area. She also hired her husband as a consultant, for $1/year.