Reveals Her Intent to Run for a 4th Term
 
President Preckwinkle Speaks About Pandemic, Economic Recovery at Annual Meeting
 
LWVCC's Annual Meeting keynote speaker, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle (right), revealed her intent to run for a 4th term next year, stating her work on behalf of County residents is not yet done. She was first elected to the post in 2008, thereby becoming the first elected female to serve as President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
 
Introduced by Pris Mims, President Preckwinkle focused her remarks almost solely on the pandemic, tracing its early beginnings in the county over a year ago to the development of coping strategies to prevent the spread of the pandemic and treat those who were ill. The arrival and distribution of life-saving vaccines were a turning point. She also shared current plans to support the economic recovery. A question-answer session followed.
 
Building a Plane While Flying It

President Preckwinkle explained her decision to issue a disaster declaration, allowing for decisions to be made by the President and Budget Director, among others, without the prior approval of the Board or as required by the procurement and other ordinances. A contact tracing initiative and the distribution of vast amounts of PPE (personal professional equipment) to hospital staff were a key part of the strategy. “I often say we were building the plane while we were flying it,” she stated.
 
Under her leadership, the county identified the needs and resources to help thousands of residents who lost jobs to avoid eviction from their homes or apartments and receive health care services, access to COVID-19 testing sites and the fulfillment of some of their basic needs like food and medicine.
The Turning Point
 
A major turning point was the arrival of the first doses of the vaccine in December. Who will forget the photo shared across the county of a hospital nurse, her sleeve rolled up, receiving the first injection? Since then, thousands of county residents have been vaccinated, in part through the availability of six county-facilitated, large-scale vaccination sites. “The vaccine is safe, effective and our best shot at returning to a normal life,” she stated.
 
Meanwhile, a county budget, with no tax or fee increases was presented and passed. Other priorities were and are public safety, affordable housing, employment and support for small business start-ups. In 2020, the county finally was able to address mental health as an illness to be treated – not a crime deserving of punishment. She also discussed the importance of bail reform, which the League’s Criminal Justice interest group has supported for years.
 
In the coming fiscal year, the pandemic will continue to be her number one priority. “We still have a lot of work to do,” she said. “The pandemic is not over.”
 
A video recording of President Preckwinkle’s remarks is available on the LWVCC website at www.lwvcookcounty.org.