Ever since Cook County Board President John Stroger announced his resignation, this job opening has become like no other in recent Chicago politics. Stroger’s stroke just before the March Primary opened up both his placement on the November ballot as the Democratic nominee, and his seat on the board as President, as well as his seat as 4th District commissioner.
Part of that equation was settled Tuesday when 52 out of 19 Democratic Committeemen voted to slate John Stroger’s son Todd Stroger, also alderman of the 8th Ward, to replace his father on the November ballot. He’ll face Republican nominee and Cook County Board Commissioner Tony Peraica in November. And while committeemen were deciding on Stroger’s replacement in November for the presidency, Ald. William Beavers (7th) was voted to run for the 4th District county commissioner seat, formerly held by Stroger. Aldermen in the mostly South Side district voted for Beavers, who will run for the Cook County Board seat in November. Under Illinois law, Todd Stroger, if elected in November, would serve as president, but will not have a vote on the board. Since his father was both Cook County Board president and a commissioner, John Stroger’s resignation also opened up his 4th district commissioner’s seat.
The other part of the Stroger saga was settled Wednesday when Cook County Commissioners were set to elect an interim president, who will serve out the remainder of John Stroger’s current term.
As of press time Wednesday afternoon, commissioners were still in session.
On Monday, Cook County Commissioner Bobbie Steele withdrew her name for consideration to replace Stroger on the ballot.
All of this political maneuvering produced the largest help wanted signs on the Cook County Board offices voters likely wouldn’t see again.
Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, the Austin Weekly News interviewed Cong. Danny Davis, who had been vying to replace Stroger in November.
Here’s some of what Davis had to say.
AWN: Whom do you favor to take the seat as interim president of the Cook County Board?
Danny Davis: The person I favor for that position is commissioner Bobbie Steele. She is a senior Democrat on the county board. John Stroger is a Democrat, and he should be replaced by a Democrat. She is also experienced and well qualified.
AWN: What is your take on Todd Stroger replacing his father as president?
DD: Todd Stroger, of course, is John Stroger’s son, and is used to be a time in the world before we had something called Democracy; when we had something called “divine right of kings”. When a king died, the son became a king. But we really got rid of that system a long time ago. I don’t believe in divine right of ruler-ship. I don’t believe in it. It seems as though Todd Stroger is coming in because he’s Todd Stroger’s son. I think that is so unfortunate. Should the committeemen make that decision. I think they are making a big mistake.
AWN: Although the old way of doing things, with successors, has been done away with so many years ago, do you think that maybe their approach was that Todd Stroger can carry out his father’s will as Cook County Board president?
DD: WelI, I don’t think he knows what his father was. I mean, how would he know what his father’s will was? Now, he has to carry out what he decides to do, and he can’t continue to function and he won’t, I’m sure, just as his father did. So none of that means anything at all to me.
AWN: What is your view on the situation of the public being unaware of John Stroger’s true health condition?
DD: That was ridiculous. If John was sick, why not just say President Stroger is sick, he won’t be back, and I’ll pray for him. As for all this ‘cloak and dagger’ stuff, that, I think, was enough to make the Negroes turn black.