Walter Burnett, Jr. was born in Chicago, Illinois; his family lived in the former Cabrini Green Housing Complex. His father was the local precinct captain in the area and often took Walter with him to work the precinct; planting the seeds that would ultimately sprout into a successful political career. Burnett first ran for office in 1995. As Alderman, his objective to serving constituents and representing a diverse community has been about balance. He has an outstanding reputation of treating everyone fair.
Burnett attended both Harold Washington College and the University of Illinois at Chicago before earning an Associate Degree and a Certificate in Mechanical Drafting from Southeastern Illinois University. He went on to earn his Bachelor Degree from Northeastern Illinois University.
Burnett is the Chairman of Pedestrian and Traffic Safety and a sitting member of eight committees; Budget and Government Operations; Rules and Ethics; Education and Child Development; Finance; Health and Environmental Protection; Public Safety; Special Events, Cultural Affairs & Recreation; and the Zoning Committee.
Burnett was appointed Committeeman of the 27th Ward Organization by his mentor, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, and former Committeeman of the 27th Ward.
Burnett also serves on the Board of the following organizations: John Howard Association of IL., Neighbor Space, Financial Straight Talk, Choose Chicago (Tourism), Northwestern University Settlement House Board, Harold Washington College advisory board, St. Leonard’s Ministries advisory board, Family Guidance Center board, Haymarket Center advisory board. Burnett is also a member of St. John Masonic Lodge, Shriners, and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity; and a former member of the Elks and Near North Kiwanis.
Burnett is a strong advocate for affordable housing in the City of Chicago and all developments within his ward are required to have an affordable component to the project. He has developed a strong reputation as an advocate for affordable housing and continues to be a leader on this issue.
Burnett is a member and Deacon at First Baptist Congregational Church; he is married to Darlena Williams-Burnett, President of Chicago Neighbors United; and on the board of Partners in Community Building (P.I.C.B.). They have two sons; Jawaharial “Omar” Williams and Walter Redmond, and three grandchildren.