The decision by Cook County Commissioner Ed Moody (D-6th), a Chicago Ridge resident, not to run for election in 2018 has left the field open.
Moody, 53, the former Worth Township highway commissioner, was appointed unanimously by Democratic committeemen in October 2016 to fill the vacancy left by the death of Joan Murphy on Sept. 18. She had held the seat since 2002, representing the district that stretches from Bridgeview to Steger, including portions of Chicago Ridge, Hickory Hills, Oak Lawn, Palos Heights and Worth.
He took a pay cut to take the seat, leaving a $100,000 job in the office of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ office for the $85,000 annual salary on the County Board. He and his twin brother, Fred, got their start in politics as precinct captains in Chicago’s 13th Ward, House Speaker Michael Madigan’s home base.
Moody originally said he planned to run for election in the March 20 primary. He could not be reached for comment this week, but according to published reports, he revealed last week that he decided against running, because a close family member has a serious illness.
Among those who have announced plans to run in the Democratic primary to replace him are Crestwood Mayor Lou Presta, 67, and Joan Murphy’s daughter, Patricia Joan “Tricia” Murphy, 55, who also lives in Crestwood. Donna Miller, 52, of Lynwood, also plans to run. Candidates will be filing their petitions between Nov. 27 and Dec. 4.
Presta said he decided to run after Moody dropped out, and “a lot of unions and a good majority of the mayors” called to ask him to do so. He said he would remain as Crestwood mayor if elected to the Cook County Board.
“I can do both jobs,” he said. “I think I can go in there and balance the budget and stop the waste. I want to stop the businesses from leaving Cook County.”
Presta acknowledged that Moody may have come in for some criticism from opponents if he had run, due to his original vote in favor of the unpopular sweetened beverage tax, which ended up being repealed.
“I am sure that anyone who voted for the pop tax would be criticized, but he eventually did vote to overturn it,” he noted.
“I think they learned their lesson. You won’t get any pop tax from me. I want to raise revenue by increasing the businesses.”
Presta said he would also like to eliminate all the unincorporated areas of Cook County as a cost-saving measure.
“I think all the unincorporated areas should join municipalities. They cost the county a lot of money (in policing and other services),” he said.
He said that while unincorporated areas of Palos Heights and Midlothian border Crestwood, he is not seeking to expand Crestwood’s boundaries necessarily.
“They don’t have to join Palos Heights or Midlothian. Whichever city is closest. It should be up to the residents,” said the mayor.