Jim Gardiner
Member of the Chicago City Council
from the 45th ward
Assumed office
May 20, 2019
Preceded byJohn Arena
Personal details
James M. Gardiner

(1976-04-17) April 17, 1976 (age 46)
Political partyDemocratic (2019–present)
Other political
Independent (until 2019)
EducationSaint Xavier University (BA)
  • Politician
  • firefighter

James M. Gardiner[1] (born April 17, 1976) is a Chicago politician and firefighter who serves as the alderman for the 45th ward in the Chicago City Council.

Elected to the Chicago City Council in 2019, Gardiner identified as a political independent; however, he would later switch to the Democratic Party and serve as the 45th Ward Democratic Committeeperson. He supports low taxes, the legalization of marijuana, few gun restrictions, and has a mixed record on immigration.

During his tenure, Gardiner has been sued for abuse of power and has received controversy for disparaging comments he made about a female staffer of another alderman.


Gardiner was born on April 17, 1976 to Irish immigrant parents, the youngest of 7 children. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and from Saint Xavier University in 2002 with a degree in teaching. Gardiner is a firefighter with the Chicago Fire Department, but has taken a leave of absence.[2]

Political career

In the February 2019 Chicago City Council election, Gardiner defeated incumbent John Arena, obtaining 50.9% of the vote to Arena's 36.2%.[3] Gardiner was elected to the 45th Ward Democratic Committeeperson position in March 2020, defeating challenger Ellen Hill by 292 votes.[4]

Gardiner is a member of the Democratic Party, but identified as an independent before 2019.[5][2] Gardiner believes in the legalization and taxation of recreational marijuana.[6] Gardiner is not in favor of an increase in property taxes, municipal taxes, and real estate transfer taxes. He is also not in favor of the LaSalle Street Tax.[6] Gardiner does not believe stricter gun control laws will reduce the amount of illegal firearms, but believes educating the youth on the dangers of illegal guns will help reduce gun violence.[6] When campaigning, Gardiner said he believes in keeping Chicago a sanctuary city, and preventing the Chicago Police Department from detaining illegal immigrants,[6] however, on January 27, 2021, Gardiner was one of eight Aldermen to vote against strengthening the City's Welcoming City ordinance.[7]

In November 2020, Gardiner was sued for alleged abuse of power and false arrest of a ward resident. Gardiner's co-defendants include 45th Ward Superintendent Charles Sikanich and seven Chicago police officers.[8]

In September 2021, exposed private text messages between Gardiner and Alderman Scott Waguespack revealed Gardiner using disparaging and misogynistic language to describe Waguespack's female chief of staff. Gardiner's comments were condemned by many Chicago political leaders, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot. He apologized for the statements.[9][10]

See also


  1. ^ "45th Ward | Alderman James M. Gardiner | Chicago". Official 45th Ward. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b Minnis, Glenn. "No shortage of potential Arena challengers in 45th Ward". chicagocitywire.com. Retrieved 14 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Jim Gardiner". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  4. ^ "Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago". chicagoelections.gov. Retrieved 2021-01-14.
  5. ^ Board, CST Editorial (27 January 2019). "45th Ward candidat for alderman: James "Jim" Gardiner". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Board, CST Editorial (27 January 2019). "45th Ward candidat for alderman: James "Jim" Gardiner". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  7. ^ Spielman, Fran (2021-01-27). "City Council eliminates carve-outs to strengthen Welcoming City ordinance". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2021-02-06.
  8. ^ Schuba, Tom (2020-11-24). "After picking up lost phone, construction worker claims he was wrongfully arrested, harassed by Chicago alderman". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2021-02-06.
  9. ^ Dudek, Mitch (3 September 2021). "Alderman goes on apology tour after leak of profane texts". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Ald. Jim Gardiner Calls Constituent And Fellow Alderman A 'B-tch,' Rips His Critics In Leaked Text Messages". Block Club Chicago. 3 September 2021. Retrieved 9 September 2021.