As we approach next Tuesday’s election, I want to thank the Forest Park Review for its thoughtful assessment of me as a “bright, determined man with political skills and connections who will make our district a force in the continuing overhaul of county government.” That’s certainly my intent and a central reason why I put myself forward as a candidate to serve you, the people of the 1st District. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to share with each of you a few final thoughts. I’ve spent the past six months meeting and talking with so many of you from across this broad and very diverse district. I’ve listened as you’ve opened up to me about your dreams for yourselves, for your families and for our neighborhoods. I’ve witnessed your commitment to your blocks and your neighbors, to your schools, to your congregations, and to the many things you are doing and ideas that you have to create a better future for all of us.

Whether on front steps or front porches, in neighborhood meetings or on chilly mornings at train stops, one thing has been plainly clear to me. Regardless of the many differences that can sometimes separate us, we all really do share the same dream. 

We want to live in neighborhoods that are safe, where we can raise our children, care for our parents and grandparents, and spend time with our families and friends. We want schools that we can partner with to help provide real opportunities for our young people, positioning them for success all the way from cradle to career. We want a health care system that is both compassionate and responsible, that cares for the needs of those in need, while helping all of us live healthier lives in ways that can reduce our dependence on very high-cost emergency care. And we want stable vibrant neighborhoods and local employers that provide jobs and allow us to see a strong future for ourselves and future generations.

I share this dream and this vision with all of you. And I am a person who gets things done, often despite real challenges. I grew up in Englewood and, against all odds, received a scholarship to go to college. I became a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools, and went on to law school, having received a prestigious NAACP scholarship. I subsequently became a Congressional Black Caucus Fellow, spent a decade as Chief of Staff for Congressman Danny Davis, and then became a partner in the law firm Barnes & Thornburg.

Now I’m asking to become your Cook County commissioner. If elected, I will be a strong, effective, and independent leader on the County Board. And while some “machine” folks may not like that idea, I believe our next County Commissioner must focus on your needs, not anyone else’s. With your support, working together, we can make our shared vision a reality, creating a great future for all of the people of our district.