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President Todd Stroger Swearing-In Remarks

Friday, December 01, 2006
Special to
by Larry Suffredin

I am pleased to offer the remarks I made at the swearing-in ceremony for President Todd H. Stroger:

Mr. President, the Stroger Family, Mr. Mayor, Elected Officials and friends. This oath taking reminds me of the changing of command ceremony aboard a U S Naval ship. When a new Captain is piped aboard he comes with hope and anticipation that the future will be better. He also comes with a re-commitment to the mission of his ship.

Today, as we witness a generational change of command at the County, we have hope that new ideas and actions will tackle the issues of the hour - service to people, government management and accountability.

Mr. President, I have traveled with you in various wards and townships where we visited those who saw you as their hope in the future. Those good people can’t be disappointed.

Mr. President, the assets of the County you will work with include a dedicated workforce, the unions who represent our workers and an historical mission of services to those often forgotten by other levels of government.

We look forward to your leadership to serve the taxpayer by insuring their resources are fairly assessed and are not wasted by indifference and corruption. We look forward to your leadership to serve those who need our help with health care to treat their illnesses, for children who need our juvenile court system to help them and their families overcome their difficulties, and for families that are torn apart by crime. We look forward to your leadership in caring for the precious resource of Forest Preserve land that we have been given to protect. Through your leadership we will educate all citizens about its proper use and enjoyment.

You will have a bully pulpit to be used to help create a new order on these issues not only for Cook County, but for the region and the State.

Mr. President, as you go forward you will have the benefit of many solid partners in government from the federal, state and local level. You will have the benefit of other elected County officials who are eager to work with you.

There will be, Mr. President, no easy answers to budgets, use of facililities, including re-use of the old County Hospital building. I am confident, though, that with your leadership we can arrive at solutions that work.

Mr. President, you will have a County Board led by Commissioner Daley that wants to solve problems. You will find this Board has strong advocates for the various regions and constituencies of the County, but they are eager to work with you to present fresh and creative ideas. Mr. President whatever the issue, we are in it together. Communication on both sides will be the key to understanding the “why” of a position. We are Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, Liberals and even Libertarian,  but we have one united focus: to leave the County better than we found it.

Mr. President, you will have the power to change lives by appointing the right people to run the daily operations of the Hospitals, the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, Inspector General’s Office and other offices. Use this power to attract new style managers who can make decisions to solve problems. Your first appointment of Lance Tyson, as Chief of Staff, shows the talent and quality you are looking for. But please go easier on your other appointees on the basketball court. We do not need to establish an appointee disabled list!

Finally, to your number one adviser, your wife Jeanine, thank you for sharing your husband with the 5.4 million people of Cook County. Families contribute more to success in public office than they get credit for. Thank you in advance for all the wise counsel you will give the President. To Hans Eric and Claire – thank you for sharing your dad to improve the lives of so many other children. All the meetings you will go to with your dad will be fun, especially at the Brookfield Zoo and the Chicago Botanic Garden. In the future you will understand that all this work and sacrifice was necessary.

Welcome aboard Mr. President. God speed your work.

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