Our new commissioner

Opinion: Columns

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Of course, if you pay attention to technicalities, Richard Boykin will not be the Cook County commissioner from our 1st District until he wins the General Election come November. In reality, though, he is just on an extended political honeymoon awaiting his swearing in.
We offer Boykin, an Oak Parker, our congratulations on his win last week in a crowded five-person field. With strong opponents — particularly Blake
Sercye's commanding win in Oak Park and Ike Carothers' success on the West Side — Boykin steered a middle path to a solid second place in those communities and an overall 4-percentage-point win.
While we had some reservations about Mr. Boykin tied to his lobbying efforts, we also find him to be smart, savvy and attuned to the critical issues facing Cook County government: Health care for the poor in the moment of Obamacare, a jail overcrowded with young black men and adults with mental illnesses, continuing the reshaping and downsizing of a bloated bureaucracy. These issues have profound impact on Oak Parkers but more directly on our neighbors to both the east and the west — in the city and in Proviso Township.
We believe Boykin has the opportunity to finally bring a voice from our district to a county board where we have been poorly and invisibly represented by the soon-to-retire Earlean Collins. Boykin has the opportunity to thread this district together, uniting the concerns of all. Boykin also has the opportunity to prove his campaign themes of inclusion and bipartisanship.
We credit the incoming commissioner for sticking with an issue-oriented campaign even as Sercye trained some overstated and unfair criticism against him in the final weeks of the campaign. That demonstrated maturity and confidence.
Blake Sercye will surface again in the political realm and he has earned that right. Our hope is that former West Side Alderman Ike Carothers now accepts that he has forfeited his future as an elected official based on his conviction for corruption. He has a role to play, though, in the public life of the West Side and we look forward to his positive contributions.

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