"As you know, I believe a math and science education is vital to the future of our young people. That's why I supported the Richard Feynman School of Science and Engineering, a charter school on the North side, to replace my ward's aging high school. As I said, it's a short distance for our kids to travel, but it'll take them far in their careers. However, in light of the community's incredible commitment to keep Franklin open and the mayor's personal plea, I have decided to withdraw my support for closing the school. [...] Effective immediately, I have also decided to resign as alderman of the 54th Ward to pursue opportunities in the private sector. It's been an honor to serve and work with you all."
— Deborah Coates

Deborah Coates is the Vice President of Midwest Portage and the former alderman of Chicago's 54th ward.


"Are you saying you know what's best for the people of your ward?"
"I'm saying if they let me, I'm trying to lift them up."
"The only person you're interested in lifting up is yourself."
Jessica Pearson and Deborah Coates[src]
Deborah Coates grew up in Chicago, Illinois. As a child, she lived near Franklin High School, although her parents forced her to attend a magnet school, which she appreciated growing up. As an adult, she became alderman of the 54th ward and accrued several wealthy donors. She wished that the students in her area attended magnet schools as well and shut down Franklin High while proposing future low-income neighborhood public schools to be shut down as well, although she also had ulterior motives, as shutting down the school increased her finances.

Coates eventually allied with Mayor Bobby Novak. Novak's aide, Jessica Pearson, attempts to investigate the Franklin matter, Novak replies that Coates is an ally and a friend, and tells Jessica to instead handle the electric buses issues, stating that the lack of buses affects more people than whether Franklin High School remains open.

Despite having agreed to handle the bus case, Jessica waits for Alderman Coates outside of a restaurant, telling her that she should serve her community, explaining that she works on behalf of those on hunger strike to prevent the closure of the school. Coates explains that as a child, she grew up down the street from Franklin High School, but that her parents forced her to take a 21-mile bus trip to attend a magnet school, and that while she hated it as a child, it benefited her life, and that she is doing the same for her ward. Coates then adds that she is aware of every community organizer in the area and once again asks who Jessica is, and Jessica replies that she works for Novak and that Novak would not keep her in office. Coates then calls Novak, and alienates him as a result.

At City Hall, Jessica pays a visit to Derrick Mayes, telling him that if he wishes to make a difference and help the hunger strikes, he would give her Alderman Coates' last three tax returns as well as her home address. As Keri heads to court, Jessica meets up with Dennis Nivens, convincing him to hire Coates as his Vice President in exchange for settling their lawsuit. Coates accepts, and at the City Council meeting, Coates rescinds her support for the dismantling of Franklin High aSchool and announces her resignation as Alderman of the 54th Ward, much to the joy of those in attendance. Derrick reveals to Novak he was aware of this and gives Novak a statement to read. Returning back to Jessica's office, Novak mentions how Jessica went behind his back, and how Coates is now Vice President at Midwest Portage, the bus company. Jessica explains how Coates would make sure the buses went into production on time, thereby solving both the hunger strike and the electric bus issues, making Novak look good in the public eye.[1]



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