Richard M. Daley

One of the most powerful and influential of America's big-city mayors, Richard M. Daley served six terms as Chicago's mayor. First elected in 1989, Daley was the longest-serving mayor in Chicago history, eclipsing the record set by his father, mentor and role model, the late Mayor Richard J. Daley. Richard M. Daley chose not to run for re-election in the 2011 campaign.

A former state legislator and Cook County state's attorney, Daley built a multiethnic, multiracial coalition that kept him in power, even as the strength and influence of the once legendary county Democratic machine waned. Daley worked to revamp and improve the city's public school system, overhauled public housing and invested heavily in the city's infrastructure in projects ranging from Millennium Park to the expansion of O'Hare International Airport. He also launched a beautification effort that included wrought-iron fencing on public properties and installation of planters, trees and landscaping citywide. Daley's time at the helm also was marked by federal investigations that uncovered contracting irregularities and what prosecutors called "massive fraud" in hiring and promotions designed to reward political loyalists. A top aide was sentenced to prison in the personnel scheme.