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Interview: Cook County Board President Todd Stroger

WBEZ/Sam Hudzik
In preparation for a story we're running today on the politics behind the future of the independent board overseeing Cook County's hospital system, I sat down last week for an interview with Todd Stroger, county board president, in his office downtown. Stroger is no fan of the hospital board. He says it isn't looking out for the best interests of the poor and uninsured residents served by the system, and accused health board members who work for other area hospitals of have a conflict of interest. I noted to Stroger that he was involved in the process of selecting those board members. (PDF pages 103-104) strogerif We talked a bit about the sales tax cut the board recently OKed over his objection (and veto). Stroger has warned the half-percentage-point cut will cost the county hundreds of millions of dollars, and will lead to cuts in the health system. I asked him if he was going to try to push commissioners to consider the sales tax issue again next year, after primary election challenges are behind them. strogerthat This interview took place last Tuesday, a few days before the Chicago Tribune released a new poll showing Stroger lagging well behind in the race for the Democratic nomination. I asked him about the perception I hear repeatedly from voters and political observers that he won't be a contender in February. Stroger says he shouldn't be counted out. strogerright Chicago Mayor Richard Daley hasn't made any endorsement in the race. I asked Stroger about the lack of mayoral support for his re-election campaign, given the long history between the two political families. strogereven Stroger says other politicians aren't supporting him because, in his opinion, "the newspapers have scared them off." He reiterated the statement he made to the Chicago News Cooperative that institutional racism is part of the problem when it comes to the media coverage he receives. strogerinst Related: Cook County Sales Tax Override Successful Related: Race, Independence Early Factors in Board President Contest

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