A Letter from the President

February 12, 2020
To the residents of Cook County:
Cook County government plays a pivotal role in serving and supporting the needs of the 5.2 million residents of Cook County. We oversee the criminal justice system, provide healthcare to all regardless of an individual’s ability to pay, build and maintain critical infrastructure and administer property taxes. Under my administration, the Offices Under the President (OUP) provides many services to residents, as well as supports fellow Cook County offices in achieving operational excellence. As we do every year, we would like to take this time to reflect on notable achievements, improved services and operational milestones in 2019.
In 2018, we released the Cook County Policy Roadmap: Five-Year Strategic Plan for Offices Under the President. The Policy Roadmap guides all our work, centering equity to ensure that all Cook County residents have opportunities to prosper and reach their full potential no matter their race, gender, geography or socio-economic status. This ambitious plan is organized into six policy priorities: health and wellness, economic development, criminal justice, environmental sustainability, public infrastructure and good government.
This year, as we put the plan into action, we embarked on several ambitious initiatives.
To ensure all Cook County residents are counted in the 2020 Census, Cook County established the Complete Count Census Commission. To support this critical initiative, we have committed funds in FY2019 and FY2020 to conduct outreach to communities and populations in Cook County that are traditionally undercounted by the Census, including immigrants, non-English speakers, Latinx residents, African-American residents, LGBTQ+ residents, seniors, children, and people with disabilities. With U.S. congressional representation, federal funding and other important resources on the line, we can’t afford anything less than a complete count.
In September, we held our first ever Racial Equity Week in Cook County to convene residents and partners and discuss why government must use an equity lens in policy and practice. As part of the week’s activities, I delivered an address at the City Club of Chicago on the need to advance racial equity in Cook County, co-hosted a forum for residents in partnership with Chicago United for Equity (CUE), and showcased projects by CUE Fellows to advance equity in government. I look forward to continuing to close the gap and address historical inequities as we carry out the strategies outlined in the Policy Roadmap.
We’ve also amplified our economic development work in the south suburbs with the launch of the Southland Development Authority. We launched this Authority in November 2019 to maximize investments, catalyze growth and increase opportunities for development in the Southland.
The following sections highlight just some of our successes in 2019. We look forward to continuing our work to create a safe, thriving, and sustainable Cook County on behalf of residents in 2020.
Toni Preckwinkle
Cook County Board President