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Alderman's Baby Gets Unanimous Approval From Giddy City Council

By Heather Cherone | November 30, 2016 2:44pm
 Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) brought his 6-month-old daughter, Jeneva Claudette, to work with him Wednesday.
Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) brought his 6-month-old daughter, Jeneva Claudette, to work with him Wednesday.
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

CITY HALL — An unexpected City Council meeting Wednesday threw Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) a curveball.

Ervin had expected to spend the week in Springfield with 6-month-old Jeneva Claudette and his wife, Melissa Conyears-Ervin, who was elected Nov. 8 to represent the 10th District in the Illinois House.

But an effort to snag $1 billion in federal money to fund the renovation of the Red and Purple CTA train lines before President Barack Obama leaves office meant the Council had to hold a special meeting, even though the full Council had been scheduled to take the week off.

That left the Ervins without child care, since they had given their regular baby sitter a much-needed vacation, the alderman said.

But Ervin didn't sweat it, and carried Jeneva — covered by a pink, black and white blanket — to the Council floor in a car seat, bringing the meeting screeching to a halt, as his colleagues craned their necks for a good look at the baby.

"I have two roles to play," Ervin said. "I didn't think twice about bring her with me."

While Jeneva napped for a while as her dad rocked the car seat, she soon woke up, and squawked a little, prompting many of the hardened politicians to giggle with delight.

Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) swooped up the baby, bouncing Jeneva on her lap while the aldermen and mayor debated the merits of a plan to create a new tax increment financing district to fund the project.

Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) even joked during his remarks that the work was needed to ensure Jeneva could travel to the North Side.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel quipped that Jeneva was the Council's new timekeeper, designed to prompt aldermen keep their remarks short.

But as the baby began to fuss, Ervin picked her up and took her out of the Council Chamber, coming back briefly to retrieve her diaper bag.

Ervin — who took the train with Jeneva from Springfield Wednesday morning and planned to return Wednesday afternoon to see his wife — was back in his seat in time to cast one of 46 votes in favor of the project.

Asked about Jeneva's attendance at Wednesday's Council meeting, Mayor Rahm Emanuel grew nostalgic for the time when his teenage children were babies.

"Jason bringing the baby was a great thing," Emanuel said.

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