Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle walked into the sweltering banquet room in a Hyde Park hotel packed full of supporters Thursday afternoon to declare she’s running for Chicago mayor, a job she previously had passed on pursuing.
In launching her campaign, Preckwinkle alluded to many of Chicago’s ongoing problems: violent crime that claims too many lives, neighborhoods that long have had little economic opportunity and dozens of neighborhood schools that have disappeared as the city’s student enrollment has shrunk.
All of it, she said, begged a question.
“There are those who have asked, and will ask, why I want to take on this job. I understand their thinking,” said Preckwinkle, 71, who is unopposed on the November ballot for a third term running the county. “I’ve faced no shortage of challenges while in public office. Why would I want to tackle even more?”