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.
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Illinois's 11th district
January 3, 1959 – January 3, 1973
|Preceded by||Timothy P. Sheehan|
|Succeeded by||Frank Annunzio|
|City of Chicago Alderman|
from the 41st Ward
1973 – 1991
|Preceded by||Edward T. Scholl|
|Succeeded by||Brian Doherty|
|Born||May 13, 1919|
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Died||September 25, 2002 (aged 83)|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Alma mater||Northwestern University|
John Marshall Law School
|Branch/service||United States Army Air Corps|
|Years of service||1941-1945|
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.
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.
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%.
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.