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  WINDY CITY TIMES

LETTER Backing Toni
2019-03-25

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Dear friend:

As progressive activists who have worked for social change for decades, advancing women's and civil rights, early education, economic and workforce development, environmental quality and many other issues, we have firsthand experience addressing the enormous challenges facing our city and its residents today.

We strongly support Toni Preckwinkle for mayor and urge you to do so, too.

We know firsthand that Toni has had a deep commitment to progressive values for her entire adult life. And she has devoted her career to translating that commitment into concrete actions that benefit ordinary people.

We know that she has a long and substantial track record of accomplishments aimed at improving the lives of Chicagoans, especially those who are struggling economically.

We believe that Toni is, by far, the most progressive candidate for mayor and that she is best equipped to bring progressive change to our city.

Toni expanded access to healthcare to 350,000 residents though County Care.

She pushed for and won passage of an ordinance to enable thousands of low-income and undocumented residents to see doctors at County Hospital.

As alderman, Toni oversaw the construction or rehab of 1500 affordable housing in her ward. She has proven she knows how to tackle the complicated challenge of providing affordable housing to everyone in Chicago.

Toni has championed living wage ordinances and a higher minimum wage throughout her career—and is helping to lead the fight for a $15 minimum wage today.

Toni led the County Board to adopt an earned sick time ordinance, extending this vital benefit to tens of thousands of individuals.

Toni has given her wholehearted support to the movement for police accountability—and helped to release the autopsy report that showed that Laquan McDonald was killed by 16 bullets—nine in the back.

Toni attacked the problem of mass incarceration by reducing unnecessary detentions. Since she became County Board President, the population of Cook County Jail has dropped by 30 percent.

Toni led reforms that have resulted in a 45-percent reduction in the juvenile detainee population.

Toni has demonstrated strong executive leadership, effectively engaging other elected officials whose cooperation she needed to improve the overall performance of County government. She is the only candidate who has demonstrated hands-on success in managing a complex bureaucracy that affects the lives of millions of people.

Toni made the tough decisions—and took the heat—to close the $2.1-billion budget gap she inherited at the county. She cut unnecessary expenditures and took steps that improved the bond rating. Throughout this difficult process, she prioritized the preservation of services, especially for those most in need.

The 2019 county budget is balanced, and has no new taxes or fines and no reductions in services.

None of us probably agrees with every decision Toni has made, but we know from our relationships with her and her long record of service that she made them in good faith and from a base of strong values that we all share.

Many of us have worked for decades to enable talented progressive women to achieve positions of power. Toni Preckwinkle has fought the old boys club at every step of her career. Now it's time for someone with the experience, commitment and progressive values of Toni Preckwinkle to sit at the head of that table and bring real progressive change to Chicago.

We hope every Chicagoan will vote in this critically important election. We believe strongly that the best person to bring us together to tackle Chicago's problems, the person who has demonstrated her ability to lead us on a progressive path forward, is Toni Preckwinkle.

Sincerely,

Jan Schakowsky, congresswoman

Karen Fishman, community activist

Heather Steans, state senator

Melody Heaps, justice reform advocate

Bridget Gainer, Cook County commissioner

Katy Hogan, community activist

Anne Ladky, former executive director of Women Employed

Michael Cabonargi, 9th Congressional District committeeman

Jen Walling, environmental activist

Larry Suffredin, Cook County commissioner

Mary Ann Smith, former alderman

Hedy Ratner, women's business advocate

Mimi Harris, community activist

Julie Hamos, former state representative

Debra Shore, MWRD commissioner

Mary Driscoll, healthcare activist

Josina Morita, MWRD commissioner

Christine George, urban issue activist

Nancy Shier, children's activist

Helen Shiller, former alderman

Carol Ronen, former state senator

Robyn Gabel, state representative

Judy Erwin, former state representative

Ann Kalayil, community organizer

Rick Garcia, LGBT activist

Rebecca Janowitz, justice reform

Leo Smith, violence-prevention activist

Mary Luria, environmental activist


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