Kurt Summers with Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Kurt Summers Jr. has been nominated by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to replace Stephanie Neely as city treasurer. Phil Velasquez / Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO TRIBUNE / Hal Dardick

A key city City Council Committee on Monday endorsed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s selection of Kurt Summers Jr. as the new city treasurer, an appointment that will give Summers a leg up in February’s municipal election.

The advantage to Summers, a 35-year-old investment firm executive and former chief of staff for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, became clear during the Finance Committee meeting at which he was endorsed, setting the stage for a full council vote Wednesday.
Ald. Ed Burke, 14th, the committee chairman, told Summers he is circulating petitions to get him on the ballot. Like all citywide candidates, Summers needs 12,500 valid signatures on nominating petitions by Nov. 24 to get on the ballot.

Summers said he has been out in 30 communities since Emanuel nominated him Oct. 23.

“It’s great to have the appointment from the mayor. It’s great to have support from a number of the members of the council and all the political leaders, but ultimately you have to convince the voters and the people on the ground, the people in neighborhoods,” Summers said after the hearing. “So what I’ve done is work very hard, and I take very seriously, the need to do that and the need for them to believe that I’m the best person for the job in my own right.”

Summers said he hopes to expand office efforts to further investments in Chicago’s neighborhoods, citing as an example a city micro-loan program for small businesses launched last year by Emanuel and outgoing Treasurer Stephanie Neely.

Neely, who is returning to the private sector, announced her plans to move on months before the Feb. 24 election. The treasurer’s office manages billions of dollars in city funds, and the treasurer also sits on the city’s pension fund boards, which invest billions of dollars on behalf of city retirees.

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