Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Forrest Claypool Named CTA President

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Claypool, a long-time supporter of retiring Mayor Richard Daley, made news last year when he switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Independent to take on the Chicago machine and run against Joseph Berrios, head of the Cook County Democratic Party.

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Forrest Claypool landed a new job.

As part of Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel's transit team announcement on Tuesday, the former Cook County commissioner was named Chicago Transit Authority president.

Claypool, a long-time supporter of retiring Mayor Daley, made news last year when he switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Independent to take on the Chicago machine and run against Joseph Berrios, head of the Cook County Democratic Party.

Berrios won with nearly 48 percent of the vote, but it didn't take long for Claypool to secure a different leadership gig, this time with Emanuel.

On Tuesday, the mayor-elect praised Claypool's "proven record as a reformer."

"He has the experience to capitalize on the CTA's strengths," Emanuel said. "Forrest is no stranger to taking on daunting challenges."

Claypool will be among those tasked with implementing goals Emanuel promised during his campaign, including expanding the Red Line on Chicago's South Side and repairing tracks on the North Side. The mayor-elect also wants to build more than 100 miles of protected bike lanes and streamline CTA development.

As part of those plans, Emanuel also announced that Terry Peterson would stay on as CTA board chairman. "I've asked him to stay on ... because I trust his leadership and his stewardship of the CTA," Emanuel said. 

Gabe Klein, former director of the District Department of Transportation in Washington D.C., rounds out the transit team as commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation.

"He has the vision to keep Chicago a national and international hub as we integrate high-speed rail into our city and across the region," Emanuel said.

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