Rahm Emanuel Biography

(31st United States Ambassador to Japan)

Birthday: November 29, 1959 (Sagittarius)

Born In: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Rahm Emanuel is an American politician who served as the 55th mayor of the U.S. state of Chicago (2011 to 2019). He began his political journey serving Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign. In the new administration, Emanuel held the posts of senior advisor to the president, for policy and strategy, and assistant for political affairs. He then turned toward a career in finance and worked with the investment bank Wasserstein Perella & Co. for a couple of years. He then served Freddie Mac. From 2003 to 2009, Emanuel represented Illinois's 5th congressional district in the House. He also served as the 23rd White House chief of staff, during Barack Obama's administration. He was sworn in as the mayor of Chicago in 2011 and was re-elected in 2015.

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Rahm Israel Emanuel

Age: 63 Years, 63 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Amy Rule

father: Benjamin M. Emanuel

mother: Marsha Smulevitz Emanuel

siblings: Ari Emanuel, Ezekiel Emanuel, Shoshanna Emanuel

children: Ilana Emanuel, Leah Emanuel, Zachariah Emanuel

Born Country: United States

Political Leaders American Men

Height: 5'7" (170 cm), 5'7" Males

City: Chicago, Illinois

Ancestry: Israeli American

Notable Alumni: Northwestern University School Of Communication

U.S. State: Illinois

More Facts

education: Northwestern University, Sarah Lawrence College, Northwestern University School Of Communication

Childhood & Early Life

Rahm Israel Emanuel was born on November 29, 1959, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., to Benjamin M. Emanuel and Marsha Smulevitz.

His father was a Jewish pediatrician at the Michael Reese Hospital and a former member of the Jewish paramilitary organization Irgun. His mother was the daughter of a civil rights movement member. She also owned a local rock-and-roll club.

Emanuel's elder brother, Ezekiel, is an oncologist and bioethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, while his younger brother, Ari, is the CEO of the entertainment agency Endeavor. The Emanuel brothers have a younger adopted sister, Shoshana.

Emanuel initially attended the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Lakeview. He then attended the Romona School, the Locust Junior High School, and the New Trier High School, all in Wilmette.

He also attended the Evanston School of Ballet and The Joel Hall Dance Center. He rejected a scholarship from the Joffrey Ballet to attend the Sarah Lawrence College, where he was voted to the Student Senate. He majored in liberal arts and graduated in 1981. Emanuel received his MA in speech and communication from the Northwestern University in 1985.�

As a civilian volunteer of the non-profit Sar-El, Emanuel participated in the 1991 Gulf War, assisting the Israel Defense Forces.

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Rahm Emanuel began his political career serving the organization Illinois Public Action and several local and national political groups. He raised funds, initially for Illinois campaigns and then for national campaigns.

Emanuel assisted Democrat candidate Paul Simon for his 1984 run for the U.S. senate, was the national campaign director for the 1988 Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, served as the senior advisor and chief fundraiser for Richard M. Daley's successful 1989 run for the mayoral position of Chicago, and directed the finance committee of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential primary campaign (during which he was a retainer for the investment bank Goldman Sachs.)

From 1993 to 1998, during Clinton's administration, Emanuel was the assistant to the president, for political affairs, and a senior advisor for policy and strategy. In that capacity, he was a chief strategist of the North American Free Trade Agreement, assisted the initiative to provide health insurance to uninsured children, passed the Brady Act, enforced the 1994 crime bill, reformed welfare, raised the minimum wage, and balanced the federal budget.

After resigning from the post in 1998, Emanuel joined the investment bank Wasserstein Perella. He became a managing director of the bank's Chicago branch the following year.

In 2000, Rahm Emanuel quit Wasserstein Perella and was voted to the board of directors of the enterprise Freddie Mac. The appointment happened around the time when heavy criticism surrounded the enterprise for its involvement in political campaigns and irregularities in accounting details. Emanuel resigned in 2001, to join the campaign for his first bid for the congress.

In October 2002, Emanuel defeated Republican candidate Mark Augusti and was elected to the first of his three terms in the U.S. House, representing Illinois's 5th congressional district. One of the prime agendas of his campaign was to make healthcare affordable and widely available. He held the seat from 2003 to 2009.

Since Rahm Emanuel was elected to the House after the congress had authorized the Iraq War, he could not cast his vote on the issue but supported the war.

In January 2003, Emanuel was appointed to the House Financial Services Committee and was thus part of the subcommittee that supervised Freddie Mac. However, he did not attend any hearing of Freddie Mac, to avoid any conflict of interest.

Emanuel was affiliated to the Democratic Leadership Council and chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Emanuel's efforts to help his party acquire the majority in the House in the 2006 elections were featured in the 2009 documentary HouseQuake.

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Rahm Emanuel gave a strategic approach to the campaign, which was not in line with the not-so-attainable "fifty-state strategy,'' advocated by the Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean.

Emanuel's efforts earned the Democratic Party 30 seats in the 2006 elections, for which he was highly acclaimed. However, he got his share of criticism for not endorsing the progressive candidates whom Dean had supported.

In the 110th congress, Emanuel chaired the Democratic Caucus. He co-authored the book The Plan: Big Ideas for America with Bruce Reed, which released in 2006.

In April that year, Emanuel declared his support for Hillary Clinton's probable presidential nomination scheduled in 2008. However, he later shifted his support to Barack Obama, who was then the home-state senator, after he announced he would run for the same campaign. To avoid any political conflict, Emanuel remained neutral, until Obama got elected in 2008.

After Obama won the 2008 presidential election, Emanuel was appointed as the White House chief of staff for the new administration. He stepped down from his congressional seat in January 2009.

In October 2010, Emanuel stepped down as the chief of staff and began campaigning for Chicago's 2011 mayoral run. He won the non-partisan election and was sworn in on May 16, 2011, succeeding the 22-year incumbent Richard M. Daley.

As the mayor, Emanuel was credited for reducing sales tax. However, he increased the service tax. Under his leadership, the Chicago Teachers Union supported longer school duration and academic years. However, he opposed having an elected school board, an agenda that other party candidates highly criticized.

In his February 2015 mayoral re-election, Rahm Emanuel did not receive an absolute majority. Despite that, he defeated Cook County board commissioner Jesús "Chuy" García in the April run-off election.

Subsequently, Emanuel's approval rating went down drastically due to a series of scandals he was involved in, including the inadequate investigation of the custodial shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

In October 2017, Emanuel announced he would be running for a third term. However, he took back his words in September the following year, citing personal issues.

Emanuel's tenure was regarded as mixed. While the majority of the Chicago population once demanded his resignation, he made progress eventually and earned considerable political support. He resigned in May 2019, leaving the office to Lori Lightfoot.

That month, the National BAM Advisory Council made Emanuel the founding executive chair of the Becoming A Man youth program. In June 2019, he began his stint as a senior counselor at the investment bank Centerview Partners. The following month, ABC News announced they would hire Emanuel as a contributor.

Personal Life

Rahm Emanuel is married to Amy Merritt Rule and has a son and two daughters. Rule became a Jew before marrying Emanuel.

They are associated with the Chicago synagogue Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel.

Emanuel provides training for and participates in triathlons.

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