This primary season, Democratic voters in Illinois will choose between three candidates for Cook County Assessor.
Why you should care
Though the role of “assessor” is not often widely discussed, the actions taken by an assessor affect residents of Cook County quite significantly. The primary role of the Cook County assessor is to set “fair and accurate values for 1.8 million parcels of Cook County property.” In addition to property appraisals, the assessor is responsible for making information about property valuation available to the public, helping residents take advantage of money-saving exemptions provided by the office, and stimulating economic growth.
- Frederick Fritz Kaegi was born and raised in the Hyde Park community. He completed his undergraduate studies at Haverford College in Pennsylvania before receiving his MBA from Stanford University. He has spent most of his professional career as a Financial Manager at Columbia Wanger Asset Management, where he has worked since 2005. According to his campaign website, Kaegi hopes to bring “fairness, transparency and professionalism” to the Cook County tax system if elected. Kaegi has recently been endorsed by both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times.
- Joseph Berrios received his bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Illinois. Before being elected Cook County Assessor in 2010, Berrios worked in politics—he was a representative in the Illinois House of Representatives from 1982–1988, and then served as commissioner on the Cook County Board of Review from 1988–2010.
Bottom LineNow with only two candidates on the ballot, the Cook County Assessor Race has become a one-on-one battle between an incumbent and an optimistic newcomer to politics. The race has been increasingly getting press recently due to a series of articles by the Chicago Tribune and ProRepublica, which exposed inequities in Berrio’s property assessments, and the recent controversy surrounding Raila’s removal from the ballot. Right now, it appears that Kaegi has the advantage due to voter frustration with incumbent Berrios.
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Alexandra C. Price
Alexandra Price is a third-year History and Russian Eastern European Studies double major particularly interested in the Cold War and modern developments in the former Eastern Bloc. As the 2016 recipient of the Gate's annual Reporting Grant, she spent a summer in Germany reporting on refugee integration in Berlin. When she's not writing for the Gate, Alexandra loves to study foreign languages, read, and take long bike rides around the city.