Martin J. Oberman

Martin J. Oberman served as alderman of Chicago's 43rd Ward from 1975 until 1987.[1] He ran for Illinois Attorney General in 1981, 1986, and again in 1994. He worked for a time as a lawyer in private practice.[2]

Marty Oberman
Member of the Chicago City Council from the 43rd ward
In office
1975 (1975)  1987 (1987)
Preceded byWilliam Singer
Succeeded byEdwin Eisendrath
Personal details
Born (1945-04-23) April 23, 1945
Springfield, Illinois
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Bonnie Oberman
ResidenceChicago, Illinois
Alma materYale University (B.A.)
Wisconsin Law School (J.D.)

In 2014 he was selected to chair the board of directors of Metra, the Chicago commuter rail system.

On July 5, 2018, President Donald Trump announced he was seeking to appoint Oberman to the Democratic vacancy on the United States Surface Transportation Board. He was confirmed to the vacancy on January 3rd, 2019 by a voice vote in the United States Senate.[3]

Early life and education

In 1907, Marty's grandfather brought the Oberman family to Springfield, Illinois where he opened up a grocery store. His father, M.D. "Mush" Oberman, was active in Springfield community affairs for forty years. His second son, Martin Jay, was born on April 23, 1945. At the age of 13, Marty was appointed as a page in the United States House of Representatives. Aside from the Capitol Page School, he attended Springfield's Butler Grade School, Springfield High School, and graduated valedictorian from Culver Military Academy in 1962. In 1966, he received his B.A. from Yale University, and in 1969, graduated Order of the Coif at Wisconsin Law School where he also served as Note Editor of the University of Wisconsin Law Review.

Career and politics

After nearly three years (1969–1972) as a lawyer with the Chicago firm of Leibman, Williams, Bennett, Baird, and Minow, Oberman became General Counsel to the Illinois Racing Board under Anthony Scariano. Oberman investigated and prosecuted various corrupt racing interests in License Revocation proceedings for political payoffs, race-fixing and horse drugging.

In 1975, Oberman was elected Alderman from Chicago's 43rd Ward. He had an adversarial relationship with the Chicago City Council's political majority. In 1979 and again in 1983, he was re-elected as Alderman.

From 1983 to 1986, Marty supported Mayor Harold Washington, Chicago's first African American mayor in the era of the Council Wars.

After leaving the City Council, Oberman was appointed Chairman of the Shore Protection Commission, which was tasked with doing a complete rehabilitation of Chicago's shoreline to ensure environmental protection.

He ran for Illinois Attorney General in 1981, 1986, and again in 1994.

In November 2013, he took his seat on the board of Metra, the Chicago commuter rail system, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel's appointee.[4]

In January 2019, he began a five year term on the Surface Transportation Board.[3]

Family life

Marty lives in Chicago with his wife Bonnie Oberman, who is the Chicago Director of Facing History and Ourselves.[5] His son, Justin, was a candidate for Illinois State Treasurer in the 2010 primary. His daughter, Maren, studies education.


Political offices
Preceded by
William Singer
Member of the Chicago City Council
43rd Ward

1975  1987
Succeeded by
Edwin Eisendrath
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