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Toni Preckwinkle: The right kind of fishy

Saturday, January 31, 2015
Chicago Sun-Times
by Dale Bowman

I have a soft spot for Toni Preckwinkle.

It goes back to when Preckwinkle, now the Cook County Board president, was a Chicago alderman and the new 31st Street Harbor was in the planning stages.

Fishermen were certain it would solely be for boaters and not allow shore fishermen access. But a couple fishermen got an audience with Preckwinkle. And she understood the needs of shore fishermen.

And not only was there access for shore fishermen, but there was good access and even fishing piers, and in good spots. Much credit also goes to Scott Stevenson of Westrec Marinas, but the baseline credit goes to Preckwinkle.

Since then, Preckwinkle has shown a true dedication to the outdoors in her role as Cook County president that is unprecedented, at least for many decades, including some innovative urban camping and outdoors programs.

Part of that is showing up at outdoors events and caring.

Saturday afternoon, she appeared at the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel and Outdoors Expo, which runs through 3 p.m. Sunday at the Schaumburg Convention Center.

Naturally she stopped by the Forest Preserves of Cook County booth (900) with a couple grandkids along. And she asked good questions about fishing, and the big walleye at the booth of fisheries biologist Jim Phillips.

I like to whack politicians as much as anyone. But sometimes we have a politician come along who fits in that public servant mold of a Paul Simon or a Jim Edgar. I think Preckwinkle might belong to that group.

Well, at least I know she gives a damm about the modern urban outdoors, not an inconsequential thing.

It made my day to see her at the show.

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