Monday, July 17, 2006

49th Ward Committeeman David Fagus

President of the County Board

All the local political news these days is really about one thing: the Cook County Board. Sure, there is the aftermath of a federal trial regarding the Daley administration and an investigation regarding the Blagojevich administration, but if you want to see passion and excitement, the only game in town is the County Board. Raw politics. Raw emotion. Raw power. Chicago style, for better or worse.

There is a great deal of posturing and positioning going on, some of it for the interim presidency of the Board, some of it for the Democratic nomination for this November's election and some for the County Board President's election in 2010.

As Committeeman, I have the responsibility to vote to fill any vacancy that occurs after the primary election. As I understand it, is a responsibility dictated by state law. All 80 Cook County Democratic Committeeman will share in this responsibility. I have received, spoken with and/or thought about several candidates. Some are in the race overtly, while others are covertly interested. I have heard and seen sentiment for several candidates, and I have not yet decided who I will support. My criteria is simple. I will be making a decision based on who has the best vision for the county government. I believe the next president must be committed to supporting the essential services of the county, and not balancing the budget on the backs of the poor, hungry, homeless and ill.

As in every election, it is a decision about leadership, goals and direction. I believe that public safety and public health are the most important missions for county government. There will be many different opinions about who is best suited to serve, but the vision I am looking for is not about politics and posturing. It is about providing the best and most efficient care to the neediest people of this county, and providing as much safety, security and justice as possible. John Stroger holds that view as a core and fundamental belief, and it shaped his vision for the county. That is why I supported him for re-election. Those same factors will govern my decision on whom to support to fill John Stroger's vacancy on the November ballot.

A few have been touting Forrest Claypool because he came in second. I like him. He was a bright and thoughtful candidate, and I expect we have not seen the last of him. The simple and unavoidable truth, however, is that the majority of Cook County voters in the March primary did not share his vision for the county. I don't subscribe to the theory that merely coming in second entitles you to a vacancy. Many Dorothy Brown supporters were disappointed when Mayor Daley didn't appoint her City Treasurer after Miriam Santos, the woman who defeated her for that office, was convicted in federal court. Rather than claim she was somehow "entitled" to be City Treasurer, Brown instead ran for Clerk of the Circuit Court, took her case to the people, and won that election overwhelmingly.

Frankly, I doubt that Claypool will seek to be a candidate for the party vacancy. On the other hand, he very well could be a candidate for the interim Presidency. I don't have a vote in that race, but given the situation the county is in, it would be good for both the county and Forrest Claypool if he takes that job, and it may position him well if he decides to fun for County Board President again in 2010.

Finally, we do not have a perfect County government, nor will we with whomever is the next Board President. Changes will come and improvements will happen slowly in any case. Most important, we should remember that government is there to serve the common good. It is a mission that requires good leadership, a strong sense of direction and, most importantly, a vision of where we are going and why we are going there. That is what we need in a President of the Cook County Board and that is who I will support.

here's a recap of the Cook County Board issues and players
from the Daily Southtown

Cook County politics for dummies

Are you confused about what's happening on the Cook County Board? What do these congressmen and aldermen have to do with this? And why does it look like John Stroger's son is the heir apparent? more...



Post a Comment

<< Home