Roderick Sawyer
Roderick Sawyer (1) (cropped).png
Member of the Chicago City Council
from the 6th ward
Assumed office
May 16, 2011
Preceded byFreddrenna Lyle
Personal details
Roderick Terrance Sawyer

(1963-04-12) April 12, 1963 (age 59)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Cheryll Aikens
(m. 1993)
EducationDePaul University (BS)
Illinois Institute of Technology (JD)

Roderick Terrance Sawyer (born April 12, 1963) is an American politician and the current alderman of the 6th ward located in Chicago, Illinois, United States. In addition to serving as alderman, Sawyer is currently the Chairman of the Health and Human Relations Committee, a member of the Progressive Reform Caucus, and the former Chairman of the African American Caucus.


Born one of three children in Chicago, Illinois to Eugene and Eleanor Sawyer (nee Taylor),[1] Sawyer grew up in the 6th ward on the south side. Sawyer is the son of Eugene Sawyer, who served as Mayor of Chicago after the sudden death of Harold Washington from December 1987 until April 1989. His father is also noted as the second African-American to hold the position.

For high school, Sawyer attended St. Ignatius College Prep, graduating in 1981. Sawyer went on to earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from DePaul University, and a Juris Doctor from the Chicago Kent College of Law.[2]

Aldermanic career

Sawyer was first elected in 2011 after narrowly defeating incumbent Freddrenna Lyle,[3] and is currently serving his third term, having been re-elected in 2015 and 2019.[4][5]

In the 2019 Chicago mayoral election, Sawyer endorsed Toni Preckwinkle, giving her his endorsement in the first round of the election.[6][7]

In June 2020, Sawyer proposed an ordinance which would end the Chicago Public Schools' contract to station Chicago Police Department officers at schools.[8]

Political campaigns

2011 campaign for City Council, Ward 6

Sawyer's first run for elective office was his campaign against city council incumbent Freddrenna Lyle in Chicago's aldermanic ward 6 in 2011. Four city council incumbents, including Lyle, lost in the April 2011 elections.[9]

2015 campaign for City Council, Ward 6

Sawyer had two opponents in the spring 2015 city council elections: Richard Wooten and Brian Garner. Sawyer received 10,659 votes in the February 2015 general election. This was 56.2% of the vote and as a result, he was declared the winner of the contest without it proceeding to a runoff.[10]

2023 Chicago mayoral candidacy

Main article: 2023 Chicago mayoral election

In June 2022, Sawyer announced his candidacy for mayor in the 2023 election, challenging incumbent Mayor Lori Lightfoot.[11]

When he announced his run for mayor, Sawyer said that crime is the first issue on his mind, and that if elected, he would fire Chicago Police Supt. David Brown.[11]

Sawyer has been critical of incumbent mayor Lori Lightfoot on several issues. These include her late September 2022 removal of a $42.7 million property tax increase that would have taken effect prior to the 2023 election. The tax increase would have gone through on an automatic escalator basis had Lightfoot not revoked it. Sawyer said, "If you thought it was responsible to have a modest tax increase, you should stand by that. And if you feel it’s not, you should stand by that. If you’re not gonna do that, you’re just blowing with the wind."[12]


Sawyer is married to Cheryll Aikens Sawyer.[13] They have two children, Sydni Celeste Sawyer and Roderick T. Sawyer Jr.[13]

Sawyer is the son of former Chicago mayor Eugene Sawyer.[11]


  1. ^ McCarron, Mitchell Locin and John. "SAWYER UNKNOWN TO MOST CHICAGOANS".
  2. ^ "Your Alderman: 6th Ward".
  3. ^ (April 2011). Lyle Loses Tight Race To Sawyer In 6th Ward, CBS Chicago
  4. ^ "Class Notes" (PDF). DePaul Magazine. Fall 2012.
  5. ^ Felsenthal, Carol (15 November 2012). His Father Moved Up from Chicago Alderman to Mayor; Does Rod Sawyer Want to Follow in His Footsteps?, Chicago (magazine)
  6. ^ "How Rahm Emanuel's surprise might shake up Chicago's mayoral race". 4 September 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  7. ^ Pratt, John Byrne, Gregory. "What does Rahm Emanuel's decision mean for the Chicago mayor's race? Who's in so far, and who's out". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Byrne, John; Pratt, Gregory (17 June 2020). "Chicago cops-out-of-schools plan potentially blocked by Mayor Lori Lightfoot ally". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  9. ^ Roberts, Bob (April 6, 2011). "Lyle Loses Tight Race To Sawyer In 6th Ward". CBS Chicago. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  10. ^ Chicago Election Results (official page) ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ a b c Schulte, Sarah (June 2, 2022). "Alderman Roderick Sawyer joins growing field for candidates for mayor of Chicago". ABC 7 Chicago. Retrieved September 14, 2022.
  12. ^ Spielman, Fran (September 29, 2022). "Lightfoot cancels pre-election property tax increase". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved October 3, 2022.
  13. ^ a b "Roderick Sawyer biography". 6ward. Retrieved September 14, 2022.