I appreciate the kind words regarding my stewardship of Cook County that begin a recent Daily Herald editorial. Since taking office in December 2010, my administration has promoted innovative leadership, fiscal responsibility, improved services and transparency and accountability. I am less enamored of the newspaper's assertions that my support for increasing the minimum wage and granting workers earned sick time is because I am too Chicago-centric. My support reflects my values, not the location of my home.
I have pursued policies to stabilize and improve the economy across all of Cook County while ensuring that we balance our budgets and end bad government practices. Our record is clear: we have solved for deficits of $1.6 billion and reduced our workforce by 10 percent. We have worked with stakeholders throughout Cook County -- including in the northwest suburbs -- to improve infrastructure and transportation, and to boost the economy.
Our Bureau of Economic Development, on an almost monthly basis, brings to our board tax incentives that help local business grow and expand -- many of them in the Daily Herald's region. We were deeply involved in improvements to the Jane Addams Tollway, are working with local stakeholders to develop the Rosemont Transportation Center, to widen I-294 and to eliminate bottlenecks on Quentin Road.
It is regrettable that some municipalities have rejected ordinances that would serve the general good. Gradually raising the minimum wage will help our neediest workers with slightly higher wages, which in turn will boost local economies. Denying earned sick leave to a small subset of workers defies common sense -- why would anyone want a worker to come to his or her job ill?
My support for these initiatives is rooted in core values of fairness and equity. My place of residence and where I work are irrelevant.
Toni Preckwinkle, President
Cook County Board