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Forrest Claypool To Head CTA: Rahm Emanuel Names Ally To Head City's Public Transit

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Fresh on the heels of announcing his education team, Rahm Emanuel released details today about three appointments he'll make to run the city's transit.

Chief among them is Forrest Claypool, a longtime political figure in the city who has been friends with the mayor-elect for thirty years. A release from the mayor's office announced that Claypool will be the president of the Chicago Transit Authority in the Emanuel administration.

Most recently, Claypool made headlines in the Chicago media for running as an independent reformer against Joe Berrios, the head of the Cook County Democratic Party, to serve as the county's influential property tax assessor. Claypool painted Berrios as a picture of clout and insider politics, arguing that he'd given property tax breaks to corporations in exchange for lobbying favors in Springfield.

Berrios won that race by a convincing margin. But during the campaign, rumors swirled that Emanuel was supporting his old friend Claypool behind the scenes.

Prior to his run for assessor, Claypool had served as a Cook County Commissioner, an office he won as a reformer, running against incumbent Ted Lechowicz in 2002. He ran for the President of the County Board in 2006, but lost again to a clouted incumbent, John Stroger, who had a stroke shortly before the election. His son Todd would take over for a four-year term marred by corruption and scandal.

Claypool also served as the Chief of Staff to Mayor Daley in the late '80s and early '90s, and was then appointed to the head of the Chicago Park District, where, according to Emanuel's office, "he successfully streamlined the budget, rooted out waste and abuse, lowered taxes and increased programs for families and kids across the city."

Emanuel also named Gabe Klein the Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner, and announced that Terry Peterson will continue as the Chicago Transit Board Chair. Klein, an entrepreneur who was an executive with Zipcar, is coming from the District Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C.

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