Sean M. Morrison: 2022 candidate for Cook County Board


Party: Republican

Office sought: Cook County Board District 17

City: Palos Park

Age: 55

Occupation: Small Business Owner

Previous offices held: Cook County Commissioner (Incumbent)


Q: What is the county board's role in addressing rising crime rates and what specific policies, programs or initiatives might you support toward reducing violence in Cook County?

A: The current policies are largely the cause of the rampant violent crimes and other felony crimes occurring. The primary problems with crime in Cook County center around not properly charging criminals and not properly sentencing criminals. This is a result of the policies implemented by State's Attorney Kim Foxx and Chief Judge Tim Evans. I have an established record of standing up and challenging the effort to implement these failed policies. Their disastrous criminal reform policies include the reduction in the prosecution of dozens of crimes, reduced bail on criminal defendants, the release of violent offenders on an inconsistent electronic monitoring program, and all culminating with reduced criminal sentencing guidelines. We can address the dangerous rising crime problem in three fundamental ways. 1) Increase prosecutions of violent crimes, 2) Increase sentencing for violent crimes 3) Recalibrate the Electronic Monitoring program for only non-violent offenders.

Q: Where do you see the greatest need for transportation enhancements in Cook County and how would you address that on the county board?

A: There are many roads and transportation needs throughout Cook County and the 17th District as well as flood mitigation. For years, infrastructure dollars generated by the gas tax were diverted away from infrastructure and moved into the general fund to spend elsewhere. A statewide referendum was passed by nearly 80% of voters to create a "lock box" for those funds so that they are spent only on infrastructure needs. As commissioner, I've worked closely with my suburban mayors and municipal organizations to identify pressing needs for their communities as well as identifying larger regional needs that can be properly prioritized. Over my last four years in office, the 17th District saw a record amount of transportation investment in the district to the amount of $120 million by the county. I look forward to continuing our successful districtwide efforts of infrastructure & transportation investment in a collaborative manner with our local municipalities.

Q: Should the county board enact a fuel or sales tax holiday to assist residents struggling with rising costs of gas, groceries and other needs? Why or why not?

A: I was out front on this issue prior to any action taken in Springfield by the governor and the general assembly. On March 24, I released a public statement calling for the suspension of Illinois' Gas Tax. My statement said, "while the price at the gas pump continues to crush many Illinois residents, it's time for our state government to find a viable relief mechanism for working families. Illinois should suspend its gasoline tax (and they eventually did). I would also support a gas tax holiday for Cook County. Revenue is not the problem for Cook County government. Spending is the problem.

Q: What is one county service that is not adequately provided or could be improved in your district, and how would you address that?

A: Public Mental Health is an area that can be improved. As commissioner, I have been a very proactive vocal proponent of the necessity of federal and state funding of Public Mental Health Services. Public Mental Health funding was gutted under Governor Pat Quinn by hundreds of millions of dollars, resulting in our Cook County Sheriff's Office, out of sheer necessity, being amongst the largest provider of Public Mental Health Services in the nation. Cook County as a government entity is not the appropriate government entity to be responsible for Public Mental Health Services to the county and region. Historically, this has been a statewide issue, and one that is utterly failing. I will continue to be a vocal proponent for the appropriate resources being allocated to Public Mental Health. Collaboration between the county, state and federal agencies is an avenue that must be vigorously pursued to effectively address Public Mental Health.

Q: Do you see the Cook County government serving the city of Chicago too much and not paying enough attention to the needs in the suburbs?

A: The county board is represented by a majority of Chicago commissioners which lends itself to leaning more towards city interests. I have been outspoken in my role to represent the suburban interests of not only the 17th District but the entire suburban area of Cook County. Fair and equitable treatment between Chicago and suburban Cook County is always at the forefront of my deliberations. Though I represent the 17th District, I am county commissioner that represents the interests of the entire county and by doing so, I believe we can have fair and equitable treatment for all of Cook County regardless of city or suburb.

Q: What's your view of the Chicago Bears' possible move to Arlington Heights? Do you think that would put a strain on Cook County government, such as with sheriff's patrols, other services, or infrastructure needs? Or do you think it would help other Cook County businesses and tax revenue?

A: The Bears potential move to Arlington Heights and the redevelopment of 300+ acres have the potential to be an amazing economic engine for not only northwest suburban Cook County but for the entire region. Private funding must be the driving force behind this massive redevelopment. Not taxpayer dollars. If fully and properly realized, the redevelopment of this massive property could be a once in a generation economic opportunity for Cook County and the state of Illinois. As for the possibility of the project being a drain on county resources, it does not seem to be a likely issue at this time, but it is area that needs to be analyzed from a multi-jurisdictional view before any major steps forward are taken so that government resources are allocated fairly and adequately.

Q: Do you support efforts to further restrict guns sales or access to guns otherwise in light of the Highland Park mass shooting, and/or in light of continuing gun violence overall?

A: The State of Illinois ranks amongst the most restrictive laws regarding ownership, possession and use, ironically and rightfully, including crimes involving weapons. Our problem in Cook County remains the thousands of cases whereby gun charges are denied, pleaded down, reduced to a lesser charge, the defendant is released on low to no bail and placed on an ineffective electronic monitoring program, a program initially designed for non-violent defendants. And upon conviction, defendants are often given a lesser sentence using current judiciary discretion as outlined by Chief Judge Tim Evans' sentencing guidelines. The tragedy of Highland Park also sadly rests in irony, Highland Park has a ban on high-powered rifles, the mere municipal law did nothing to prevent the violence of a mentally ill criminal, resolved to commit random murder.

Q: How could Cook County benefit from recently passed federal spending measures, such as on infrastructure, health care and climate change?

A: I was a leading proponent for Cook County to increase its yearly pension contributions beyond the legally required amount. With additional revenue coming in from the county's sales tax, I strongly supported adding the additional supplemental pension payments which has improved our funding and led to a substantial improvement in Cook County's bond rating over the last several years. The county needs to continue with this fiscal policy and increase our supplemental payments whenever possible. With the influx of additional federal dollars, the county can continue to allocate substantial resources to pay down debt, stabilize its pensions and strengthen the long-term fiscal picture for the county.

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.