As the 46th Ward Alderman, James Cappleman placed a primary focus on promoting economic development to create more shopping, dining, entertainment, and employment opportunities in the Ward. The result is that in 2014, the 46th Ward ranked among the top 10% of wards with high numbers of building permits. His work to address public safety in the 46th Ward has helped bring crime down to historic lows. On the City level, he has focused on improving the delivery of services by advocating for the use of outcome metrics to measure the performance of various city departments and social services to ensure greater efficiency and use of their limited resources. James also serves on the Budget, Ethics, Health, Housing, Licensing & Consumer Protection, Pedestrian & Traffic, and Zoning Committees.

In addition to his work in the 46th Ward, James continues to advocate for families throughout the city as an active board member of Annie’s Legacy, a Southside not-for-profit organization that empowers women who have experienced abuse and poverty

. In 1987, he co-founded a homeless shelter that provided care for people living with HIV/AIDS and for three years served as chair of the Illinois’ National Association of Social Workers’ HIV Task Force. A licensed clinical social worker, James has worked in the healthcare field to improve communication among doctors, patients, and families. He also has had training in research that focused on improving the delivery of healthcare. Prior to his election as Alderman in 2011, he was active with the Uptown Chicago Commission and served two terms as their board president.

James has received numerous awards for his advocacy for others, including for people experiencing HIV/AIDS, homelessness, and domestic violence. He has a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Houston and an MSW from UIC’s Jane Addams School of Social Work. His husband, Richard Thale, is chair of the 19th Police District’s Court Advocacy Committee and serves as one of the CAPS beat facilitators for Beat 1914.