New Ald. Natashia Holmes sworn in

New 7th Ward Ald. Natashia Holmes takes her seat between Alds. Roderick Sawyer, 6th and Michelle Harris, 8th, after she was sworn into office during the City Council meeting Wednesday. (Nancy Stone / February 13, 2013)

Former Illinois Department of Transportation official Natashia Holmes is the new 7th Ward alderman after the City Council today approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s appointment of her to the South Side post.

Holmes, 37, takes the seat vacated by former Ald. Sandi Jackson, who resigned last month as her husband, former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., deals with bipolar depression and a federal probe into his campaign finances.

After Holmes was sworn in, Emanuel called her “a break with the past,” a reference to her lack of political ties to former 7th Ward powerhouses, including the Jacksons and Cook County Commissioner and former Ald. William Beavers. Beavers is under federal indictment for allegedly misusing his campaign funds.

As an IDOT special projects manager, Holmes worked to coordinate transit and rail programs. She said she will give up her current job at Glen Ellyn-based Metro Strategies to be a full-time alderman.

Emanuel chose Holmes from among 65 applicants for the post after appointing a four-member panel to winnow that list.

As alderman, Holmes will be paid $114,913. Ald. Roberto Maldonado, 26th, told Holmes that how she handles the job “is up to you. You can do as much as you want or as little as you want, and you can cause changes in your ward that will ultimately be very rewarding to you.”

hdardick@tribune.com

Twitter @ReporterHal