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DuPage County Commissioner Pete DiCianni

Pete DiCianni

Pete DiCianni

This month, we highlight the professional career of Peter “Pete” DiCianni, III. Born in Chicago and baptized at Our Lady of the Angels Parish on the Near West Side, Pete was given life by two loving parents, Peter and Mary Ann. Pete was the firstborn of this growing Italian and Irish family. His father grew up in the Taylor Street/Western Avenue neighborhood. His mother, a native of Cicero, attended St. Mary’s High School on Taylor Street. His parents came from very humble beginnings as his Grandpa DiCianni emigrated from Abruzzi, Italy, and was one of 13 children and a member of Jane Adams Hull House. His Grandpa Shannon, an immigrant from Mayo, Ireland, once worked as an elevator operator at the Merchandise Mart.

The DiCiannis moved to Elmhurst when Pete was 10 years old. There, he attended Mary Queen of Heaven Grammar School, York High School, Triton Junior College and Elmhurst College. The oldest of seven children, Peter paid his way through college by starting a small print shop behind his father’s insurance business where he printed simple menus and forms for companies. Peter built his business the old fashioned way: with hard work. He would sell the jobs, and then print them at night and on weekends while attending college during the day. He graduated with a degree in business management.

As has been the pattern in Pete’s life, he met his wife Rosemarie (Rose) at Loyola Hospital, during a crisis. She was a nurse in the heart unit when his father went in with chest pains. Getting lost in the hospital turned out to be the best thing that has ever happened to Pete. He ran into this former classmate, who was not only nice but also very cute. They started dating, fell in love and were married. Meanwhile, Pete’s Print Shop started to grow. Requiring larger quarters, they decided to move to Addison. Since Pete was offering many more services other than printing, he changed the company name to DiCianni Graphics. It was a great move for the business, which has expanded many times over the last 30 years.

As is the case with most of us who appreciate family, Pete and Rose chose to settle down in Elmhurst to be close to their parents and siblings. They have three great children. There is Natalie, 18, and Peter, 16, but it was their daughter, Brianna, a beautiful strawberry blond, who would fulfill her destiny at age 11, inspiring her father to achieve his greatest accomplishment to date and change the world as we know it.

Shortly after she was born, Rose noticed Brianna was not talking, not making eye contact and would tantrum constantly. While Pete was in denial, her mother’s instincts were that there was a problem. Brianna was diagnosed with autism at the age of 3 and it was a devastating moment for Pete and Rose, as well as the entire family.

As Pete had often turned challenges into opportunities in the past, he again rose to the occasion and took on a larger mission. He discovered that autism affects more children than any other disease, more than AIDS, diabetes and cancer combined. So with his father’s insurance guidance, he authored, along with the highly respected and truly revered State Sen. James DeLeo and former State Rep. Angelo “Skip” Saviano, the most comprehensive autism insurance legislation in the country today. Aimed at ending discrimination against children with autism, “Brianna’s Law” was signed on Dec. 12, 2008, and insures over 20,000 children battling this debilitating (unless treated) medical condition. Today, Brianna’s Law is law in 33 states.

Throughout his successful business career, Pete has never forgotten to give back to the community. Besides being a supporting member of Chicagoland Italian American Charitable Organization (CIACO), currently serving on its board of directors, he is a past President of the Elmhurst Children’s Assistance Foundation and an active member of the Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce.

Deeply devoted to the community he grew up in, Pete ran for mayor of Elmhurst in 2009 and was elected decisively as the youngest mayor elected and only the 2nd of Italian descent in it’s history. Since then, expanding his influence politically and the first Elmhurst Mayor to be elected to higher office, Pete was elected to and serves honorably as a Commissioner of the DuPage County Board in 2012 representing 14 suburban communities including his home town of Elmhurst. Pete was endorsed by 22 DuPage Mayors.

In 2012 Governor Pat Quinn appointed Pete to The Governor’s Task Force on Autism where he was nominated to be the Insurance Lead to adopt Brianna’s Law at the national level. In this capacity, among his other responsibilities, Pete hopes to include Brianna’s Law in the Affordable Care Act to create a national mandate to expand autism coverage to the 17 remaining states that have not adopted Brianna’s Law. Also, the federal law would support the states who have already adopted the autism insurance reform, according to the release. He plans to build a bi-partisan coalition on a federal level. His goal is to make it easier for families to be able to cope medically and financially with a child’s autism diagnosis.

In 2013, Pete was elected to serve as a director of the 25 year old Italian-American Political Coalition, the absolute voice of our community in the political arena.

Pete DiCianni is another example of the best our community has to offer.

About Leonard F. Amari

Leonard F. Amari is a founding, co-managing partner of Amari & Locallo, a law firm that focuses exclusively on real estate tax assessment issues. He is a J.D. recipient from The John Marshall Law School, with honors. Amari has been a John Marshall trustee since 2000 and was elected president of the board in 2007. He is past president of the Illinois State Bar Association, a member of the Chicago Bar Association’s State and Local Taxation Committee, and a member and past president of the Justinian Society of Lawyers. He has received numerous honors from many organizations recognizing his service.