Manifolds, Manolos & Manure...by Bona Heinsohn
Since 2010, Cook County Farm Bureau® has operated a Political Action Committee (PAC) designed to support candidates who are supportive of the policies, priorities and mission of the Farm Bureau while promoting the economic and social well-being of farmers and farm-related interests in Cook County.
Since being created, the PAC has made 34 endorsements. Not all incumbents. Not all challengers. Not all major party candidates. But candidates who Governance Committee members felt would make the largest impact on their District and the County.
Members of the Cook CFB PAC Committee are charged with making endorsements. When considering a candidate, members consider the results of the candidates’ interviews, questionnaires, support of Farm Bureau policies, and when applicable, voting record.
This Primary, alone, Committee members spent 34 hours interviewing candidates and determining endorsements. 34 happy, unpaid, volunteer hours.
Of the candidates running for Cook County office, Governance Committee members interviewed candidates for the Cook County Board, Assessor, Clerk, President, and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.
In 2017, incumbent Clerk David Orr announced that he would not be seeking re-election to an office he’s held since 1990. Adding fuel to the fury of candidates jockeying for the office is the fact that the Recorder of Deeds and Clerk offices are being combined. Incumbent Recorder Karen Yarbrough has shown that she’s willing to make changes and automate the process. We hope she continues to streamline and invest in technology. - For Clerk it is Karen Yarbrough.
Perhaps the hottest race on this year’s ballot is the contest for Cook County Assessor. Four years ago, Cook CFB PAC endorsed an independent candidate amid ethic concerns surrounding Joseph Berrios. Those concerns remain and have grown given that Berrios sued the very same county that pays his salary. It’s important to note that Berrios sued the county in his official capacity as assessor so it’s the taxpayers footing the bill for his attorney and the attorney representing the county ethics board. Berrios claims that he should be able to accept unlimited campaign contributions and donations from the very same attorneys and real estate professionals who argue property tax cases before him. The ethics board found 41 donations that exceeded the county’s campaign limits. Fritz Kaegi, the challenger, is focused on providing taxpayers a fair and transparent tax system. Kaegi is prepared to implement the improved assessment system that has been available to the current assessor for numerous years. Kaegi is also a Certified Illinois Assessing Officer, a requirement for all assessors except the Cook County Assessor. Berrios is not certified. - For Assessor it is Fritz Kaegi.
For several years, CCFB has had a strong working relationship with Commissioner Robert Steele. When Steele passed away earlier last year, Dennis Deer was appointed to his seat. Commissioner Deer holds a doctor of Christian Psychology degree and has built businesses focused on rehabilitation and mental health. He brings a wealth of knowledge in the areas of mental health, recidivism, and medical billing to the board. - For the Cook County Board District 2 it’s Dennis Deer.
The third Cook County Board District has long been represented by Jerry “Iceman” Butler who has decided not to seek reelection. There’s numerous candidates for the third district, including Steven Wolfe. Wolfe is an electrical engineer trained and educated at IIT and holds a MBA from Washington University. He’s committed to improving the local economy and neighborhoods.
- For the third districts it’s Steven Wolfe.
Earlier last year Joan Patricia Murphy, a longtime commissioner from the sixth district, passed away. In the race for the sixth district there are three strong candidates and all three will bring a wealth of knowledge and talent. Donna Miller is a pharmaceutical professional who will bring a strong voice for the county’s health care system. - For the sixth district it’s Donna Miller.
In the six-year Metropolitan Water Reclamation Distric race, voters will elect three Commissioners from a strong group of candidates. Leading the way is current incumbent commissioner Debra Shore, a strong leader who poses a wealth of knowledge about the District. Another standout candidate is Kari Steele. Both Steele and Shore go above and beyond to learn more about the county and agriculture. Cook CFB PAC has endorsed both Shore and Steele in prior elections. For the six-year MWRD seats it is Debra Shore and Kari Steele.
Members are encouraged to vote on March 20.