Dorothy Brown, the sitting Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, is in the fight of her political life. She’s seeking her fifth term against three challengers, including Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), Shirley Coleman and Jacob Meister.
Brown said she was disappointed when the Democratic Party of Cook County withdrew its endorsement of her late last year following her cell phone being seized by the FBI as part of an ongoing investigation. But she noted that she is excited to have support from West Side leaders like U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7th), Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) and several west suburban mayors.
“I have moved on from that point,” said Brown. “But people should know I have since gotten my cell phone back.”
At a news conference earlier this month, Davis explained why he was supporting Brown over his Democratic Party’s choice.
“I want to urge everybody else to vote for Dorothy Brown to be returned as Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County,” said Davis. “I think Dorothy Brown has done an outstanding job as clerk. I am appreciative of the creative way in which she has used her office to help deal with issues of mass incarceration.”
“I know Clerk Brown to be a public servant who is foremost interested in empowering communities and increasing access to justice for all citizens,” said Ervin. “Her record of improvements to the clerk’s office is unmatched. I proudly endorse Dorothy Brown’s re-election.”
Brown said she is the best choice to run an office that employs 1,600 people and has a $100 million budget.
“Given what’s been happening in Chicago the last several months especially with the Laquan McDonald shooting, people should look at that and say, ‘We need a clerk of the Circuit Court that will protect the records for all citizens of Cook County.’ That person is me,” Brown told Austin Weekly News.
“And during my tenure there’s never been any kind of inkling that I have not provided the records to everyone. People need to know that the clerk office maintains all court records.”
She added that those who know her best would describe her as “strong, trust-worthy and dependable; yet humble.”
Since taking office, Brown said she has implemented an electronic filing system; built a mobile app that places court information conveniently on a user’s mobile device; managed the full-scale scanning and electronic storing of almost 200 million digital images of court documents; and installed interactive digital access terminals throughout the clerk’s office for public use to view and print imaged court documents.
Additionally, Brown, 62, said she initiated an online traffic ticket payment service; an unclaimed child support search; online orders of protection service; and the Mortgage Foreclosure Surplus Search program to help eligible participants learn about and recover cash surpluses from property lost to foreclosure.
One thing Brown said people might not know about her is that she played on her high school basketball team.
“I was the captain of the basketball team in my senior year and I played forward,” recalled Brown, a Chicago Bulls fan.
Before entering politics, Brown was a general auditor for the Chicago Transit Authority and previously ran for City Treasurer, Mayor of Chicago and president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
The wife and mother of one adult daughter said when she is not working for Cook County residents she enjoys spending quality time with her husband, watching movies and volunteering at her South Side church.
Brown said on Black Friday she was among the hundreds of protestors marching on Michigan Avenue in the wake of the release of the Laquan McDonald police dashcam footage, which shows the teenager being shot to death 16 times by a Chicago Police officer in October 2014.
“If we want to have a say in who will be the next Chicago Police superintendent and who will be our elected leaders, we have to let our voices be heard and get our young people to vote,” added Brown.