Morrison, Gorman similar on policy, differ on style in race for Cook County Board

Incumbent Sean Morrison, one of only two Republicans on the Cook County Board, said he is often a lone voice on the Democratically controlled panel.

But his challenger in the June 28 GOP primary, former County Commissioner Elizabeth "Liz" Doody Gorman, says Morrison is too much of a lone wolf.

"He's made it clear that he wants to go down there and be a pain in their rear end," said Gorman, 57, of Orland Park.

"If I was down there, I would try to be working with people so I wouldn't have to be that lone wolf," she added. "You have to respectfully disagree, as opposed to being disagreeable."

Morrison, 54, of Palos Park, said there have several times over the past five years in which he's been proud to have been a lone voice on the board.

"(Board) President (Toni) Preckwinkle and I butt heads very often," he said.

He said it has led to his successfully advocating for increasing pension funding beyond what the state mandates, allowing the county to pay off nearly $2.5 billion in legacy pension debts and see its bond rating move from near junk status to AAA.

He said he also pushed Preckwinkle to get more oversight of the county's health and hospital system and advocated for an inspector general's audit that found the county lost $175 million in collectible annual revenue from improper billing of Medicare and Medicaid.

"It took 10½ months, but I got 16 of my colleagues to go along with me to repeal the soda tax. That's pretty darn good," he added.

Gorman has built her campaign on her record of reaching across party lines.

She said she led the charge to repeal former County Board President Todd Stroger's 133% sales tax hike. That, she said, resulted in a 50% reduction of the increase, which was repealed in 2013.

"Sure, there was some pain, but we exposed a lot of unnecessary programs and positions," she said.

"They said the sky was going to fall, if we did this. And the sky didn't fall, and Cook County government was able to manage without it."

On policy matters, Morrison and Gorman share similar views, particularly when it comes to public safety and mental health.

Both are critical of the use of electronic home monitoring for those charged with violent offenses.

The 17th County Board District mostly encompasses South suburban Cook County, but it also includes all or parts of Prospect Heights, Des Plaines and Elk Grove Village, as well as O'Hare International Airport in Chicago.

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