In the March 20 primaries, Cook County Democrats will choose between two candidates for Cook County Board President. Because there are no Republican challengers, the Democrat who is elected will be the next Cook County Board President.
Why You Should Care
The Cook County Board President is the executive of the county. They preside over the meetings of the County Board, prepare the budget for the county, and approve or veto legislation. They also are responsible for the care and custody of all county property, including Cook County Jail.
- Toni Preckwinkle is the incumbent Cook County Board President. Preckwinkle was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, but moved to Hyde Park to attend the University of Chicago, and graduated with a BA in general studies in 1969. She then went on to receive her MAT in teaching from the university in 1977. She ran for alderman of the 4th ward unsuccessfully in 1983 and 1987 before winning the seat in 1991. She served as alderman for five terms and became known as a progressive member of the Chicago City Council and an advocate for affordable housing. She won the Cook County Board Presidency in 2010. As president, she has supported the controversial sweet beverages tax and led a sustained campaign to reduce the number of people at Cook County Jail awaiting trial.
- Bob Fioretti was born and raised in the Pullman/Roseland neighborhood of Chicago and received a Pullman scholarship to attend the University of Illinois, where he studied political science. He then went on to earn his JD from Northern Illinois University. He has worked as an attorney, and has overseen both the Historic Pullman Foundation and the Judicial Evaluation Committee of the Chicago Bar Association Executive Committee. In his campaign, Fioretti has emphasized fiscal responsibility. He has been a harsh critic of Preckwinkle’s soda tax, and has advocated for property tax reform to more fairly tax working class and minority homeowners. He is also calling for a new for both Chicago and the south suburbs, to lessen the flow of gaming dollars to Indiana.
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Kaeli Subberwal is a fourth-year majoring in political science and minoring in physics. She has spent her summers working in local journalism at the Summit Daily News and national journalism at HuffPost, and doing archival research through the College Summer Institute in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. In her free time, Kaeli enjoys reading, hiking in the Rocky Mountains, and doing crossword puzzles instead of studying.