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Roman Conrad Pucinski (May 13, 1919 – September 25, 2002) was an American Democratic politician from Chicago, Illinois. He was a U.S. Representative from 1959 to 1973 and alderman from the 41st Ward of Chicago from 1973 to 1991. He was considered a longtime leader of Chicago Polonia and was seen to represent its interests in Washington along with Congressman Dan Rostenkowski.

Roman Pucinski
RomanPucinski.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Illinois's 11th district
In office
January 3, 1959 (January 3, 1959) – January 3, 1973 (January 3, 1973)
Preceded byTimothy P. Sheehan
Succeeded byFrank Annunzio
City of Chicago Alderman
from the 41st Ward
In office
1973 (1973) – 1991 (1991)
Preceded byEdward T. Scholl
Succeeded byBrian Doherty
Personal details
Born(1919-05-13)May 13, 1919
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
DiedSeptember 25, 2002(2002-09-25) (aged 83)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
ResidenceChicago, Illinois
Alma materNorthwestern University
John Marshall Law School
ProfessionPolitician
Attorney
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceUnited States Army Air Corps
Years of service1941-1945

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Early and family lifeEdit

He was born in Buffalo, New York, but moved to Chicago with his family as a child. In 1941, he graduated from Northwestern University. During World War II, he served in the Air Force. After the war, he attended John Marshall Law School in Chicago and graduated in 1949.

CareerEdit

Pucinski worked in journalism for many years, notably at the Chicago Sun-Times. In 1952, he was chief investigator for the Congressional Special Committee which investigated the Katyn Massacre. This was of special interest to him as a Polish-American. In 1958, Pucinski was elected U.S Representative from the heavily Polish-American 11th District on the Northwest Side of Chicago. He was re-elected to six additional terms, serving from 1959 to 1973.

As a representative, Pucinski pushed for the installation of "black box" flight recorders on all passenger airliners and supported federal assistance to community colleges.

When congressional districts were redrawn after the 1970 Census, Pucinski's district was dismantled and he did not seek re-election in 1972. Instead, he was the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate against incumbent Senator Charles H. Percy; he lost badly.

In 1973, he was first elected alderman from the 41st Ward of Chicago, which had been part of his old congressional district and was heavily Polish-American. Pucinski also served as Democratic Ward Committeeman from the 41st Ward for many years. After Mayor Richard J. Daley died in 1976, Pucinski ran in the Democratic primary of the special election to succeed him in 1977, even though the Democratic Party had endorsed Michael Bilandic. Bilandic won, Pucinski was the second-place finisher, and Harold Washington came in third with 11%.

During the Council Wars of Harold Washington's first term as mayor, Pucinski was part of the Vrdolyak 29 opposition bloc.

In 1987, he proposed requiring employee voting on any Employee Stock Ownership Plan established by a corporation based in Chicago. In 1984, he supported a redistribution of Community Development Block Grant funds that would have allocated $1.3 million to repave streets in the 41st Ward.

The 41st Ward usually voted for Republicans and the aging Pucinski was defeated in his campaign for re-election as alderman by Republican Brian Doherty in 1991.

Death and legacyEdit

His daughter Aurelia followed him into law and politics. Pucinski died in Chicago in 2002, and his son Christopher in 2006.[2]

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit