Todd Stroger: Democrats ignored me
By MICHAEL SNEED firstname.lastname@example.org September 9, 2012 12:07AM
Todd Stroger presides over his last meeting as Cook County Board president in December 2010. | sun-times library
Updated: October 10, 2012 6:22AM
So what’s up with former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, the heir to a political bastion who got the throne pulled out from under him two years ago?
Last week, Sneed caught up with Stroger, 49, who now has a brand new career.
◆ To wit: He’s just become a licensed insurance salesman dealing in fire, life, casualty and health insurance . . . and tells Sneed he’s about to start a gig with Knight Insurance.
◆ The upshot: Even though Stroger got hit for the way his county office was run, he told Sneed he’d like to “teach courses on government and public policy and administration” He’d even like to blog about those topics.
◆ Question: So what does he think about county government?
◆ Yikes: “There’s about 10 people who know county government and know it well. Even the commissioners don’t really have a firm grasp because they’re only there about four times a month.”
◆ Question: Is there a future in politics for you?
◆ Answer: “If I hit the lotto and get tens of hundreds of millions, I’d run for Senate like everyone else [insert chuckle]. But I’m not going to even think about it for another four to six years. . . . I’m spending time with my kids, they’re 8 and 12 now . . . and I want to make sure I can send them to whatever school they want to go to.”
◆ Question: What do you think will happen to Jesse Jackson Jr.’s seat in the House?
◆ Answer: “He had a lot on his plate. Sometimes you get burned out and have to step back. I probably should have stepped back a few times. But I think he will either get better and continue to run. Or, if he doesn’t get better, then his wife will run. She is a pretty dynamic and charismatic person.”
◆ Question: How do you feel about your friend Gene Mullins? (the former Chicago cop and Stroger spokesman indicted for allegedly accepting bribes).
◆ Answer: “Gene is still my best friend. We’ve been talking and Gene says he’s innocent, and I believe him.”
◆ Question: What’s your assessment of your successor, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle?
◆ Answer: “Her major flaw, and we all have them, is that she’s not that much of a people person. She hasn’t gotten to know the county’s directors that well. They don’t feel comfortable bringing things up with her.”
◆ Question: Do you harbor any ill will?
◆ Answer: “If I had any ill will, it would be against Democrats who ignored me because the papers were beating up on me so badly.” He singled out Gov. Pat Quinn and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who “walked right past me and didn’t speak,” at the opening of a new Navistar facility in Northlake that Stroger said he helped bring to fruition.
◆ A Stroger tangent: “When you’re running in the wheel, sometimes you don’t realize you’re in the wheel until you’re out.”
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