A Waukegan native, Sam grew up in the 1st Ward. He attended Carman-Buckner Elementary School and graduated from Waukegan East High School. Sam continued his education by attending Central State University (Wilberforce, Ohio), where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing (August 1989). Because Sam truly valued Waukegan as a thriving community, he made the choice to come home and establish his business, rear his family, and serve the people of Waukegan and Lake County.
Sam is a 17 year veteran Alderman on the Waukegan City Council and he owns and operates Cunningham Insurance Agency, Inc. Alderman Cunningham is a recognized figure in the community who consistently supports events and fundraisers that promote Waukegan and help its residents. As a Lake County Deputy Registrar, Alderman Cunningham joined in the efforts to raise voter awareness on the local, state and national levels. As Alderman, Sam is the Chairman of the Insurance Committee, Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee, and an active member of the Public Works and Public Safety Committee. Over the past 10 years, Alderman Cunningham has been an Elected Precinct Committeeman of Precincts 374 and 391. He currently serves as the 1st Vice President of the Lake County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (LCNAACP).
Sam's parenting exemplifies a collaborative effort in raising his two daughters, Syerra (20) and Samantha (16). Syerra is currently attending University of Illinois Springfield and Samantha is a junior at Zion Benton High School. Alderman Cunningham recognizes the importance of providing to not only his children, but all of Waukegan’s children, an effective education, which is something he works at with the utmost diligence.
As Alderman, Sam Cunningham managed to improve one of the toughest areas of Waukegan – the 1st Ward. He strives to enhance neighborhoods and to reduce crime and drug use by supporting community based policing and listening to and addressing the needs of residents. Sam has proven to be an effective leader, speaker, representative and resource for the citizens of the 1st Ward. As a political leader, Alderman Cunningham excels in his duties and obligations to the 1st Ward and Waukegan. He fully utilizes his capabilities to fight for a better Waukegan. Sam appreciates Waukegan's rich history and is committed to being a part of the city's future. He believes in Waukegan and its citizens and knows that he can successfully lead this city into a new economic era as Waukegan’s next mayor.