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John Fritchey Plans Run For Claypool's Cook County Board Seat

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State Rep. John Fritchey announced Tuesday he intends to give up his seat in the state legislature to run to replace retiring Commissioner Forrest Claypool on the Cook County Board.

Fritchey made the announcement alongside Claypool and Congressman Mike Quigley, a former County Commissioner and Claypool ally, and pledged to carry on their reform efforts on the Board.

"Just like nature, reform abhors a vacuum," Fritchey stated in a press release announcing his plans. "Mike and Forrest have been groundbreaking reformers at the County level, and with the loss of their two key board votes, we need to make sure that taxpayers are getting responsible and effective government for their dollars.

"Serving on the County Board will provide an opportunity to continue my past work and bring it closer to home. Whether it is property tax reform, increased transparency and accountability, or environmental initiatives, there will be no shortage of important issues to take on."

Quigley, who defeated Fritchey in the Democratic primary to replace Rahm Emanuel in the Fifth Congressional District earlier this year, endorsed his former opponent's bid.

"Now more than ever, we need a proven reformer with the common-sense, experience, and willingness to take on the big issues," Quigley said in a release. "The times demand and the voters deserve elected officials like John Fritchey who will challenge the status quo and fight for taxpayers."

Fritchey, 45, currently serves as House Civil Judiciary Committee chairman and was a member of the Special Investigative Committee that drafted the impeachment resolution against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He was formerly an assistant attorney general for Illinois.

Fritchey took some heat during the Congressional campaign for his family and political ties to powerful Democratic ward bosses, but Claypool and Quigley seem convinced of his reform credentials.

"When it's time to dissent, you dissent, and when it's time to work together, you work together," Quigley told the Tribune, in reference to the need for practicality in politics.

Considered the strongest candidate to challenge Todd Stroger for County Board President, Claypool surprised the political world in June by announcing he was leaving the Board altogether.

On Tuesday he anointed Fritchey heir to his seat.

"Even when the odds were against us, I'm proud to have been able to accomplish a great deal at the County," Claypool said in a press release. "John has had a similar experience at the State, and so he is ideally-suited to not just carry on, but build upon, the work Mike and I have done on the County Board. When it comes to fighting for taxpayers and cleaning up Cook County, John Fritchey is the clear choice to become the next Commissioner for the 12th District."

The primary election is in February.

Read the full release:

Fritchey Announces Run For Cook County Commissioner -