Famous for his enthusiastic personality, dedicated work ethic and unorthodox campaign tactics, Rahm Emanuel is one of the most prominent politicians in America today. From his early career as an adviser to Bill Clinton to his current perch at the top of Chicago's city government, Rahm Emanuel has truly trod the halls of power.
Born in 1959 to Jewish parents in Chicago, Emanuel attended public schools, and took part in a number of prestigious dance programs; he even turned down a ballet scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet in order to attend Sarah Lawrence College. While earning a B.A. in Liberal Arts there, he became involved in politics, gaining a seat in the school senate and volunteering for Representative David Robinson. He began working for Illinois Public Action, a public advocacy group, and campaigning for Democratic politicians, such as Paul Simon and Richard Daley.
In 1992, right after volunteering with the Israel Defense Force in the Persian Gulf War, he signed on with Bill Clinton to direct the campaign finance committee, raising a huge amount of money that let Clinton defend himself against personal attacks. After winning the election, Clinton appointed him as a staffer in the White House, where he played an important role in a number of initiatives, such as the fight for universal healthcare. While working at the White House, her earned the nickname "Rahmbo" for his idiosyncratic, "take-no-prisoners" style, exemplified by his frequent, obscenity-laced rants at colleagues.
After leaving the Clinton Administration, Emanuel worked in the investment bank of Wasserstein Perella until 2002, when he won an election to represent the 5th Congressional district of Illinois. He rose quickly through the ranks, becoming head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, where he was partially responsible for getting an astounding number of Democrats elected in 2006. After the 2008 election, President Barack Obama named him as his Chief of Staff, and he again led the fight for healthcare--this time victoriously. Although he received criticism for being unwilling to listen to left-wing views, he was able to maintain good relations between Congress and the White House, shepherding a number of important proposals into law.
In 2010, Emanuel resigned, for he knew that Democrats would lose a huge number of seats in the November elections. Soon after his resignation, he began to campaign to become the mayor of Chicago. Though his opponents tried to get him thrown off the ballot, citing his non-residency in Chicago during his years working for the federal government, he eventually won the election on February 22, 2011. He became Chicago's first Jewish mayor when he was sworn in during May of 2011.