Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Outlines Second Term Agenda at the City Club of Chicago

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle outlined her second term agenda during a speech today at the City Club of Chicago.

“In the last four years, we have become a model of effectiveness: setting goals and working hard and working together to achieve them,” Preckwinkle said. “But make no mistake, the next four years won’t be without challenges. The progress we have made is reflected in the goals we set. We are not looking just to rebuild and repair. We aren’t tackling problems – we are seizing opportunities. I am looking forward to what the next four years has in store.”

Highlights of Preckwinkle’s speech included:
Public Health
The Cook County Health and Hospital System will always provide quality health care for the uninsured and underinsured. The next four years will be about retaining and expanding our patient population and continually improving the patient experience. In turn, we will no longer be primarily a health care system of last resort for those most vulnerable, but a provider of choice for all residents. We will reform our health care system by building on our existing strengths: top notch health care professionals, internationally-recognized research, community-based care and unmatched compassion.”

Public Safety
“For years, the daily jail population hovered at roughly 10,000; today it is 8,300 largely because of our criminal justice reform efforts of the past four years. For the last 8 months, it has been down 10% year over year. Moving into my second term, my goal is to bring the daily jail population down to 7,500.”

“Just as it is important to reduce the jail population, we must also continue our efforts to reduce the number of young people in temporary detention. That includes restoring judicial discretion to the criminal justice process by eliminating the automatic transfer of children charged with certain crimes from juvenile court system to adult court. This will be my top criminal justice priority in Springfield this coming session and we are going to be diligent in our efforts.”

Economic Development
“I am committed to doing everything I can to help grow our economy. I view my responsibility as working to create a climate that makes business leaders and investors more likely to choose the Chicago region as a place to create more jobs.”

“A key priority is the economic health of the 132 municipalities that are part of Cook County. They are our partners in growing the economy. I want Cook County to play a leadership role in developing sub-regional economic growth strategies. I am redefining the County’s sense of responsibility. We can work with clusters of communities that want to engage in more focused economic growth planning. The County will look to partner and support municipalities to develop their own economic plans, share resources to cut costs and improve services.”

“The Chicago region is one of the freight capitals in North America, handling over $650 billion of goods annually. And yet, there are more than 200 townships, municipalities, and counties that regulate the size, weight, and routes of trucks in this region each with separate permitting regulations. These regulations add hundreds of millions of dollars to the cost of transporting goods and frustrate shippers, truckers, and customers. Now, we are working to streamline the region’s truck permitting. This is a critical issue that we need to tackle to maintain our preeminent position and support our business community.”