Sean M. Morrison: 2022 candidate for Cook County Board District 17
City: Palos Park
Occupation: Business Owner, Morrison Security Corp.
Previous offices held: Cook County Commissioner, 17th District since 2015 (Incumbent)
Q: Why are you running for this office, whether for reelection or election for the first time? Is there a particular issue that motivates you? If so, what?
A: My purpose for seeking another term as commissioner of the 17th District is multifold; I wish to ensure an equal representative voice for the residents of suburban Cook County where often the equal application of Cook County tax dollars and resources are not evenly distributed and applied back to the residents of south and west suburban Cook County. To offer a fiscally responsible approach to Cook County's budgeting process. To provide a check and balance system against growing the size of county government, increases in the sales tax and property tax, and user fees upon Cook County residents, visitors and businesses.
Q: Cook County was alone in the six-county Chicago area to require proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to enter restaurants, bars and other establishments earlier this year. Did you agree with that decision, and would you support reimposing that requirement should the region face another surge in infections?
A: When this order was initially instituted by the Cook County Dept. of Public Health (CCDPH), an office under President Preckwinkle, I issued a public statement and additionally in a letter I outlined many concerns to the CCDPH, President Preckwinkle and my fellow county commissioners. No, I did not agree with the decision and for several reasons. First, I believe the policies used to make determinations based upon this order were arbitrary in nature. The effect of the policies was deleterious to private sector businesses and their employees. It is estimated nearly 50% of small business from pre-March of 2020 are no longer in business. Cook County still ranks amongst the top counties in the nation in unemployment. But mostly, I believe the order issued against private sector commerce to be illegal, arbitrary, and capricious.
Q: Did the county do enough to support businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic? If yes, please name one specific program you supported that did that. If no, please name one specific action the county could have taken to help.
A: I believe the answer is both, yes and no. Yes, I believe the county provided significant resources to residents and communities hit the hardest by the effects and policy decisions instituted in response due to COVID-19. Cook County was able to target federal tax dollars to residents and municipalities in several areas: medical and mental health care, vaccinations, emergency response equipment, housing, food amongst the most pressing. No, I believe in many cases, after directing initial resources to cases of dire emergency need, the remaining allocation of the federal tax dollars were delivered in an arbitrary manner. A manner based far more on an agenda aimed at social political ideology rather than fair and equal distribution of resources based upon our county's residential population centers.
Q: There's been a concerted effort within the county's criminal justice system to incarcerate fewer pretrial defendants in the county jail. Some, particularly in the suburbs, blame this for a rise in crime. Do you support these policies? If not, what would you suggest instead?
A: As commissioner I oppose the current policy and in fact, I do feel the policies are largely the cause of the rampant violent crimes and other felony crimes occurring in Cook County. I have an established record of standing up and challenging the effort to implement the policies instituted by President Toni Preckwinkle, State's Attorney Kim Foxx, and Chief Judge Timothy Evans. 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. Or, as the public describes it as soft on crime polices.
Q: In July 2020, the county board passed a resolution that called for, in part, the county to "redirect funds from policing and incarceration to public services not administered by law enforcement." Did or do you support this measure and the philosophy behind it? Why or why not?
A: No, and astoundingly, I was the only member of the Cook County Board to vote NO to defund the police. (A movement that stripped $28 million dollars away from the sheriff's budget, our sheriff's police officers patrol some of the most impacted communities of violent crime, those very residents many elected officials feign to support.) No, I will never support an ideological movement that places a higher advocacy for the criminal over that of a citizen victim.
Q: Some elected officials have proposed a "gas-tax holiday" to ease the burden of rising gasoline prices on county residents. Would you support such a proposal for Cook County? 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). Current costs at the pump combined with the excessive gas tax that Governor Pritzker passed, left us with gas tax hikes in 2020, 2021 -- and soon the July 2022 tax increase would kick in. I advised residents to call their state reps & state senators and tell them to suspend the gas tax." The larger issue of skyrocketing gas prices was caused by the Biden administration's disastrous policies to our nation's energy sector.