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Friend of the Neighborhoods

Whether it comes from his degrees in philosophy and theology or his deep commitment to family, County Assessor Jim Houlihan has led a storied political life that has remained deeply rooted in his strong moral sense.

Jim served three terms as an Illinois State Representative for the Lakeview and Lincoln Park neighborhoods of Chicago before working for former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and as a reformer for the Fair Equity Tax Commission.

In 1997, Jim brought his commitment to neighborhood development, civil rights and social justice into his position as Cook County Assessor where he has worked to restructure both the office and the assessment system to create greater fairness and transparency. Recognizing that well maintained and affordable housing is an integral part of a healthy community, Jim has worked tirelessly to protect the affordability of both rental and owner-occupied housing.

While Jim has won numerous accolades for his work, perhaps his most widely known and successful effort was his 2003 proposal for the landmark 7% Expanded Homeowner Exemption. The Exemption was created to offset the impact of rising property values on the tax burden of working families. It has been lauded by neighborhoods whose residents would have found their lifelong homes otherwise unaffordable.

His rapport with local leaders and residents from a wide range of communities allows him to grasp and address the concerns of the array of the County’s taxpayers. For his understanding of diverse communities, his lifetime commitment to public service and his ability to address the economic challenges of our times, Jim Houlihan is named this year’s Friend of the Neighborhoods.