I, Ronald Lawless, am a candidate for Cook County commissioner, 1st district. I want to make county government serve the people of the West Side and western suburbs. When elected, I will work to make sure Cook County government meets certain crucial criteria.

Transparency in county finances and operations is urgently needed by the public. This is the first step to finding waste and abuse. I want to work with various groups interested in understanding the budget. The goal is to provide citizens with various, well-thought out options. For me, open meetings to discuss budget, spending and staffing will be an important goal.

Like most of us, Cook County is suffering the effects of the economic downturn. Cutting expenses is one sure way to reduce costs. But some services, like safety and health, are indispensable. It’s time to stop focusing on income and sales taxes that directly affect working people and give speculators a pass. Rather than raise income or sales taxes, the county should carefully consider working with the General Assembly for new, fair alternatives.

Of course, Cook County provides an array of other services. We must evaluate, improve and reorganize existing services to make sure they are working efficiently and effectively. Rather than looking just at privatization, we should work closely with local townships and suburban governments. And we should be working with local nonprofits and professional groups to improve services and contracting opportunities for county businesses.

Cook County government must be accountable and responsive to needs. We need to look holistically at how we treat juvenile crime, drug addiction and street violence. Current initiatives are not just costly; they are not working to make our communities healthier or safer.

It’s clear to everyone that we need a new approach to county government. I am committed to providing information so that residents can participate in deciding responses to both hard challenges and exciting possibilities. Just imagine what we can achieve working together for the community. I ask for your support on Nov. 2.

Ronald Lawless
Oak Park

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