On October 17, 2009 I announced I was entering the race for Cook County Board President as the candidate of the Green Party of Illinois. Download my statement-> Announcement_press_release
Here’s what I said: “Tom Tresser today announced his candidacy for the position of President of the Board of Commissioners of Cook County. “I do this as a result of almost thirty years of civic work in the city and, most specifically, my last two years of volunteer community work,” says Tresser. In September of 2007 Tom was outraged to learn that the Latin School of Chicago did a secret contract with the Chicago Park District to construct what was essentially a private artificial turf soccer facility in the heart of Lincoln Park. He got together with a group of neighbors to form Protect Our Parks to undo this clout-driven deal. “People said we were crazy to take on the Park District and Latin School – two very powerful entities whose leaders are some of the most powerful people in Chicago government and business. ‘It’s a done deal’ we were told. Protect Our Parks sued and won and now the soccer facility in Lincoln Park is available to all citizens of Chicago and not just reserved for the wealthy few who have special access to our elected and appointed officials.” While working on the Lincoln Park Land Grab Tresser realized that the situation was just a run up to Chicago’s Olympic bid. If the city could deal away prime land in the heart of Lincoln Park, then they could do just about anything they wanted anywhere else in the city. After months of doing his own research, Tresser contemplated starting a “Say No to the Bid” web site and then ran across the No Games Chicago site. He met with the two founders in January and decided to join their efforts to stop the 2016 Olympics from coming to Chicago.
“People said we were crazy. They said it was ‘a done deal.'” recalls Tresser. Over the past ten months Tresser has been working with the volunteers of No Games Chicago to stop the 2016 Olympics from coming to our city. He was a member of the team that went to Lausanne, Switzerland in June and to Copenhagen, Denmark in late September. There will be hearty debate on the relative contributions of No Games Chicago to the outcome of the 2016 bid process. “What is not debatable is the deplorable state of democracy in our region. I was continuously amazed and dismayed at the lack of oversight, due diligence and critical questioning of the bid by our elected officials, civic groups and the media,” says Tresser.
After No Games Chicago achieved its goal, they asked the question: “What now?” They invited people to take a brief survey to share their thoughts. A large number of the respondents wanted political action. “When I saw these results and reflected on the sum total of my civic work in Chicago, I realized that the best thing I could do to remedy the problems that had caused me to be so active all these years was to seek local elective office in 2010,” says Tresser. “What hare-brained, concrete-heavy, clout-driven project is waiting in the wings to fleece the taxpayers?”
“Seeing no protections for the taxpayer in sight, I will seek to be the next President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners and, if elected, will institute a top-to-bottom financial audit of all aspects of the county’s business and put a stop to insider deals, ghost employee-ism and other long-standing taxpayer rip-offs.”
I ran on a platform of reform, social justice, innovation and total transparency. I had seven Big Ideas for Cook County:
- Urban agriculture – reclaim and farm lots across the county
- Establish storefront clinics using nurse practitioners
- Boost innovation and the arts across the county
- Greening the county – zero carbon goal, solar power, mass transit
- Reforming the juvenile justice system – decriminalize marijuana, community-based solutions
- Reform & Service – Perform a forensic audit on all aspects of county business and hiring, use Servant-Leadership model to guide operation of government
- Connect the dots to the state of the Federal budget – De-militarize the USA and free up billions of dollars for local use we send to Washington annually that are gobbled up for the military
Download my platform for service and innovation-> Tresser_Platform-2010
In the end I got 53,000 votes and spent about $10,000. I had no staff but a lot of volunteers and heart-felt support all over the county. Thank you to all who contributed, volunteered and voted for me. I remain committed to the ideas of justice, service and innovation that I articulated in that campaign!