That's All Folks!
Recently, Cook County Commissioners voted once again to rollback the sales tax increase, and once again, for the fourth time, President Stroger vetoed it. This time, however, he ran out of red ink, because the Cook County Board could now overturn Stroger’s veto with only 11 votes.
Back in 2006, I introduced legislation that I had been working on in conjunction with Congressman Mike Quigley to reduce the veto override threshold down from a 4/5 majority to a 3/5 majority – a more acceptable, just, and democratic threshold. Over the past three years, we faced considerable opposition and obstacles, and neither the public outrage nor political will existed to reform the system. In fact, during the 2006 campaign season, one candidate running for Cook County Board President supported the measure, and stated that it was “not about politics or power, this is about what is best for Cook County.”
Soon after the campaign, that candidate’s support for the measure waned when he was elected President of the Cook County Board, and following President Todd Stroger’s self-serving flip-flop, the idea died shortly after.
After living with the highest sales tax in the country and amidst an economic depression, what was once just an abstract law became very tangible to the public, who rallied their elected officials to support our legislation this fall. Now, with the support of many of my colleagues in Springfield, a new version of the bill to lower the Cook County veto threshold passed in the General Assembly and was quickly signed into law by Governor Quinn.
As a result, the County Board now needs only a 3/5 majority vote, or 11 votes, to override President Stroger’s veto. I am thrilled that 12 Cook County Commissioners chose to use this newly bestowed power to override President Stroger’s veto. It pleases me to see that the Cook County Commissioners finally have the power of democracy with them now and the opportunity to do what is best for Cook County residents, not just what is best for elected officials, both now and into the future.
Just goes to show you that every now and then, the good guys can still win one.
Social networking has become so prevalent in society that even politicians and elected officials use it communicate with constituents. Unfortunately, they tend to use it in a dry and almost "safe" way - sticking to an unwritten script of stating a position on an issue, thanking supporters/asking them to help support a campaign, piece of legislation or friendly candidate, and sharing information about issues the candidate is working to promote or support.Those of you that follow me on Facebook or Twitter, or have been reading my blog for the last several years (yes, I am well aware that my blogging has slacked off to no end as my posting and tweeting increased), know that I will be absurdly candid, bordering on irreverent, when it comes to my comments. And while that may give political consultants justifiable pause, for me, it's simply an extension of who I am - for better or worse.
11th District state representative John Fritchey, however, breaks that mold. Fritchey is famous for his Facebook updates - in fact, he's pretty well known for embracing social media applications, from Twitter, to Facebook, to yes, even Blogger.
It is the SOLDIER, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the SOLDIER, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the SOLDIER, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the SOLDIER, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
Rep. Fritchey Applauds County Board Action on Veto Override
Urges Immediate Effective Date
for Pending Legislation
CHICAGO – State Representative John Fritchey (D-Chicago) today applauded the Cook County Board for passing a resolution urging state lawmakers and the governor to pass legislation to reduce the vote requirement necessary to override a veto by the Cook County Board President. But he went on to caution that the currently pending legislation doesn’t go far enough and urged that it be strengthened.
“I applaud the Cook County Board for passing today’s resolution supporting this important initiative that I have been working on with Congressman Quigley since 2006,” stated Rep. Fritchey. “All that Cook County residents have to do to understand the importance of this issue is to look at their most recent sales receipt and see the highest sales taxes in the nation,” added Rep. Fritchey. “This tax burden could have been eliminated this past summer if Cook County had the lower veto override threshold.”
Fritchey went on to caution that the legislation presently pending in Springfield does not go far enough because it would not take effect for over one year, until January, 2011.
“While I agree with the idea of the resolution that the majority vote should be lowered, under the pending bill, the 3/5 majority vote will not go into effect until January 1, 2011. There is simply no reason to postpone ending this onerous burden as soon as possible, and accordingly, the bill should be amended to provide for an immediate effective date,” added Rep. Fritchey.
Rep. Fritchey stated that he has already prepared such an amendment for filing and has additionally introduced new legislation with an immediate effective date. The bill is House Bill 4632.
Fritchey to Seek
Cook County Board Seat
Claypool & Quigley Endorse Fritchey as Needed Reform Voice
CHICAGO – In a significant political announcement, State Rep. John Fritchey stated that he will not seek re-election to the General Assembly seat that he has held since 1996, opting to run to fill the vacancy created by Cook County Commissioner Forrest Claypool, who has announced he will not be running for another term. Congressman Mike Quigley and Commissioner Claypool joined Rep. Fritchey at his announcement and pledged their full support of Fritchey’s bid, citing the need for the County Board to have a proven reformer who can hit the ground running.
Rep. Fritchey was first elected to the Illinois House in 1996, representing a district including Bucktown, DePaul, Roscoe Village, Lakeview, and Ravenswood. The former Illinois Assistant Attorney General has been the Chairman of the House Civil Judiciary Committee for the past seven years. He previously chaired the House Consumer Protection Committee.
During his legislative tenure, Fritchey has been an unwavering reform leader in Springfield, having authored and sponsored numerous ethics and campaign finance reform laws. Milestone accomplishments include his work with then-State Senator Barack Obama to pass the Ethics Act of 2003 and more recently, the enactment of a law to finally ban ‘pay-to-play’ politics in Illinois.
A vocal critic of both former Governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich, Fritchey was a member of the Special Investigative Committee that drafted the impeachment resolution against Blagojevich.
“When I first arrived in Springfield, nobody really wanted to take on the fight to reform state government,” said Fritchey. “There were a lot of uphill battles and even resentment, but I persisted and slowly but surely, we started fixing a very broken system. And while there’s definitely still work to be done, the good news is that there are a lot more legislators now willing and able to do it.”
By contrast, Fritchey stated that the recent departure of former-Commissioner Quigley, who defeated Fritchey in a Special Primary this past March to succeed Congressman Rahm Emanuel, and Commissioner Claypool’s decision not to seek reelection, have created an urgent need for reform leadership on the Cook County Board. Talks among the three elected officials convinced Fritchey to give up his seniority in the House to run for the Board.
“Now more than ever, we need a proven reformer with the common-sense, experience, and willingness to take on the big issues,” said Congressman Quigley. “The times demand and the voters deserve elected officials like John Fritchey who will challenge the status quo and fight for taxpayers. Reforming government saves us money, and amidst the greatest economic downtown in a generation, we can’t afford not to keep working for change. John will be a terrific addition to the Board and a fitting successor to our friend Forrest Claypool.”
Working together to fix county government is nothing new for the three officials. Over the years, Fritchey, Quigley, and Claypool have joined forces to take on initiatives including the elimination of pension abuses by county officials, as well as trying to lower the number of votes needed to override a veto by the Board President – an issue looming large as the Board once again tries to roll back the recent county sales tax hike.
“Even when the odds were against us, I’m proud to have been able to accomplish a great deal at the County,” said Commissioner Claypool. “John has had a similar experience at the State, and so he is ideally-suited to not just carry on, but build upon, the work Mike and I have done on the County Board. When it comes to fighting for taxpayers and cleaning up Cook County, John Fritchey is the clear choice to become the next Commissioner for the 12th District.”
“Just like nature, reform abhors a vacuum,” said Fritchey. “Mike and Forrest have been groundbreaking reformers at the County level, and with the loss of their two key board votes, we need to make sure that taxpayers are getting responsible and effective government for their dollars. Serving on the County Board will provide an opportunity to continue my past work and bring it closer to home. Whether it is property tax reform, increased transparency and accountability, or environmental initiatives, there will be no shortage of important issues to take on.”
“I am as proud of my record and my ideas as I am to receive the support of these two County reform pioneers,” said Fritchey. “I’m looking forward to making a very compelling case to the voters and starting this next chapter of public service.”
The Primary Election will take place in February 2010.