David Orr, Mayor for 8 Days and County Clerk for 28 Years, Retires

David Orr was mayor of Chicago for just 8 short days, holding the record for shortest time in office. But, he holds another record: longest serving Cook County Clerk, with 28 years in the position. He retired on Friday after almost 50 years of service for the city of Chicago.

Orr served as mayor for 8 days after the sudden death of Mayor Harold Washington in 1987. He previously served as alderman, working with Washington on initiatives such as banning nuclear weapons from Chicago. 

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Orr said of his retirement, “I may not be famous, but I started out in politics in 1979 as alderman of this ward and it’s a great place to spend my last official night in politics.”

In this clip, Harold Washington, David Orr, and Studs Terkel all speak about the horrors and cost of nuclear weapons at an event celebrating the passing of an ordinance that made Chicago a Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone.

Passed in March 1986 by a rare unanimous vote of the “Council Wars”-era City Council, this trailblazing ordinance made Chicago the largest nuclear weapon-free zone in the country. It faced major opposition from Governor James Thompson, who called it “stupid and un-American.” ”I thought the people of Illinois wanted a greater share in defense spending,” Governor Thompson said when the bill was introduced. ”We can’t build ships here. We’ve got to do something. And it is also morally wrong.”

This footage is from “Freeze Frame: You Can Do It,” which was sponsored by the Illinois Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign and was produced by Paul Buchbinder and Valjean McLenighan.

You can watch the full program here.



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