Progressive Candidates in Illinois
Mariyana Spyropoulos for Water Reclamation District
From Democracy for America:
Mariyana Spyropoulos has served on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District for six months and has proven to be a smart, honest Commissioner during that time. She's also been one of the District's best progressive voices, working to improve the quality of rivers and groundwater, promote green roofs and educate the public on the benefits of conservation.
Mariyana's activism, independence and thoughtfulness as Commissioner have been a breath of fresh air on the MWRD and she'll continue to be a progressive leader in the District for years to come.
Here is Spyropoulos' statement to DFA:
An attorney with an MBA, Mariyana has been very active in environmental groups. She has served the people of Cook County as a prosecutor at the Cook County State's Attorney Office and as a Hearing Officer for the State of Illinois.
To help the Water Reclamation District take a leadership role with regards to the envrionment and water. My goals include outreach tot he community to work together on water conservation issues. Also to have the Water Reclamation District use its properties to set the example for sustainbale practices. Finally, with my business and legal background will make sure the citizens of the County are well served with fiscla responsibility and transparency on their side.
As stated above, my issues are water conservation, the environment and fiscal responsibility.
Spyropoulos has also been endorsed by the Hellenic American Police Association, Illinois League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Free Press, Ukrainian American Democratic Organization, United Hellenic Voters, and many others.
This is an important race that you can really make a difference in. Please volunteer for Mariyanna Spyopoulos' campaign if you are in Cook County. If not, please contribute.
Also in Cook County:
Toni Preckwinkle for Cook County Board President
Again, from Democracy for America:
Chicago is a machine town, but one candidate for Cook County Board President stands out above the rest as a real reformer: Toni Preckwinkle.
Toni is in this race to restore the basic principles of good government to the Cook County Board -- Provide the best services possible and do so effectively. These are principles in government all but forgotten by corrupt incumbent Todd Stroger.
As president, Toni will not only restore these principles, but get to work on solving some of Cook County's biggest problems -- a regressive tax system and broken justice system.
Here is Toni Preckinkle's statement to DFA:
After graduating from the University of Chicago over 40 years ago, I made a lifelong commitment to public service. I taught history at local high schools for a decade, ran a non-profit aimed at neighborhood improvement, and took on the political machine which represented the status quo. My first attempts to beat machine-backed politicians failed, but I persevered against the odds until I won the 4th Ward Aldermanic seat 18 years ago.
As the Committeeman and Alderman representing the 4th Ward, I've prided myself on independence, transparency and accountability - while always striving to improve the quality of life for my constituents. I've rejected the old patronage model of political organization, wherein precinct captains double as city and county employees until and unless they fail to deliver votes for the Machine. As Cook County Board President I will lead by example, with commitment and perseverance to ignite a critically needed change of culture in County government and politics.
I believe government should uphold two basic principles: provide the best services and do so as effectively as possible. Right now, Cook County government is failing on both accounts. That's why I'm running for Cook County Board President.
I believe the greatest failure of the current administration is not mismanagement, it's not endemic corruption and it's not the hordes of patronage employees - though these are all serious shortcomings. It is, rather, the current administration's cynical disregard of the wishes, concerns, and fears of the citizens. Over the past eleven months, I have traveled throughout the County, from Palatine to Dolton, from Winnetka to Cicero, and throughout Chicago, speaking with many citizens about our priorities, such as repealing the sales tax increase, making permanent the independent Health Board, and addressing reforms for the overcrowding throughout the County criminal justice system. So far, this race has been too consumed with the "politics" - who's in and who's out. What I have offered is a "compact for change". This isn't just a litany of reforms. This is a new compact between the people of Cook County and its government and it rests squarely on the demands of the citizens. We must address the issues facing the County: the need to fully repeal the sales tax increase and stimulate economic development, the responsibility to make our neighborhoods safe and the drive to improve our health care and criminal justice systems. The full Compact for Change can be found at http://www.tonipreckwinkle.org/page/compact-for-change.
Eighteen years of service in the City Council has taught me to work well with others and make compromises when necessary to accomplish goals. I was a founding member and leader of the Progressive Caucus in the City Council - a disparate coalition of reform-minded alderman committed to accountability and fairness in Chicago public policy. My political independence has not blinded me to carefully examining public policy. If the Mayor proposed a good idea, I was willing to work with him and the administration. But I have never been deterred from standing up to the administration when I fundamentally disagreed. I opposed Mayor Daley's plan to privatize parking meters and I stood in a small minority when opposing the tax increases in the FY2008 budget. While I have always been honored to serve in a legislative capacity, I believe it's time to put my ideas, principles and political skills to work as an executive. I can't think of an office that is more desperately in need of new leadership than that of President of the Cook County Board.
I'm running for Cook County Board President because I believe government should uphold two basic principles: provide the best services and do so as effectively as possible. Right now, Cook County government is failing on both accounts. First, as Cook County Board President, I will move to repeal the Stroger sales tax increase, and work hard to decrease the overall sales tax - while also bringing down expenses by cutting wasteful spending and eliminating inefficient programs. The County provides too many critical services and opportunities for our community to be stalled by the waste, fraud and abuse of the current Cook County government.
Rebuilding the Health Care System
In order to create a solid foundation for a fiscally-sound County health system, I will push for the independent Board of Directors to be made permanent. This is the first step in reducing the political influence that has been detrimental to the efficiency and morale of those health care professionals who work so hard to provide quality care. I will also work to ensure that County health services are as efficient and effective as possible by striving for three basic objectives:
o Correct extensive waste and duplication in order to end the bureaucratic drain on health care services.
o Divert mismanaged resources into high-quality preventive care.
o Pursue cooperative ventures to create a network of specialists.
Another key challenge we face is that each year, residents of surrounding counties use Stroger Hospital free of charge. It is simply not fair that our residents are paying for their services. I will collaborate with other counties to ensure that those counties using our health resources pay their fair share.
Reforming Cook County's Chronically Overcrowded Jail
As Cook County Board President, reforming the criminal justice system must be a priority. Cook County's jail is chronically overcrowded. This reality not only drains our budget, but compromises the safety of Cook County residents, as the Department of Corrections has fewer resources to devote to prosecuting and incarcerating violent criminals. I will expand programs that not only serve as alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders, but also provide treatment for addiction, educational classes and life skills training, in order to reduce recidivism and make our county safer. The benefits of this approach are three-fold: 1) easing the overcrowding of our jail; 2) facilitating re-entry and job training; and 3) reducing repeat offenses. Specifically, I will expand the State's Attorney's Drug Abuse Program (SADAP), which provides treatment and drug education to first-time drug offenders. I will also look to expand the State's Attorney's RAP Drug School and Cook County Drug Court, which serve as pre-trial diversions of non-violent drug offenders from jail into drug treatment programs. As current demand for these services exceeds their capacity, their expansion will unclog the County's courts and free up resources that will enable the State's Attorney's office to focus on the prosecution of violent criminals.
Here is her latest campaign video:
If you live in Cook County, this is your chance to help clean up Chicago politics. Volunteer for Toni Preckwinkle. Or, if you can, donate.