Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Toni Preckwinkle: Taller And More Progressive Than Rahm Emanuel

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    NEWSLETTERS

    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg continues to send love to his fellow chief executives here in Chicago.

    First, there was the Rahm Emanuel profile in Bloomberg BusinessWeek that praised our mayor for getting tough with the unions. Today, Bloomberg News profiles Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, portraying her as a reformer who isn’t afraid to stand up to Emanuel or President Obama.

    The article, “First Woman Elected to Run Cook County Invades Illinois Paradise of Graft,” notes Preckwinkle’s achievement of closing a $316 million deficit while laying off 800 workers -- an unusual act for a holder of an office associated with patronage. Preckwinkle has criticized Obama -- a ward constituent -- for political opportunism. Here, she criticizes Emanuel for lusting after casino money.

    She also doesn’t shrink from poking Emanuel, who has backed a proposal to bring casinos to Chicago. Government financial reliance on gambling is “distressful” because it takes advantage of residents, she said. “I play the lottery sometimes, just for fun,” she said in the interview. “And I would tell you right off the bat that it’s stupid and dumb.” Every adult “ought to be ashamed” that 45 percent of the students in Chicago Public Schools don’t graduate, she said in a Nov. 3 appearance before a community development group. “His public schools,” she said, referring to Emanuel, “are feeding my jails, and I don’t like that much.”

    That lottery admission isn’t the only personal detail the reporter, Tim Jones, uncovers behind Preckwinkle’s sober hauteur. The board president also enjoys being six feet tall -- “stature is an advantage,” she says.

    Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!