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The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle

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Information about The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle

Profile image of The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
County Commissioner

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Strawberry Shortcake
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Northern Minnesota
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/17/1947
Birth Location:
St. Paul, Minnesota

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
County Commissioner

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Strawberry Shortcake
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Northern Minnesota
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
3/17/1947
Birth Location:
St. Paul
See how The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on March 17, 1947. She attended Gorman Elementary School and Como Park Jr. High School. Preckwinkle graduated from Washington High School in St. Paul in 1965. She then moved to Chicago to attend the University of Chicago, where she graduated with her B.A. degree in general studies in 1969. Preckwinkle graduated with her M.A.T. degree in teaching from the University of Chicago in 1977.

After being hired as a history teacher for Chicago Public Schools, Preckwinkle began her career in politics with two unsuccessful bids for the City of Chicago’s 4th Ward aldermanic post in 1983 and 1987, respectively. In between these bids, Preckwinkle was appointed development officer for the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club in 1984. From 1985 to 1988, she served as an economic development coordinator for the City of Chicago. Preckwinkle was eventually named executive director for the Chicago Jobs Council in 1988. In 1991, Preckwinkle won the 4th Ward aldermanic seat, defeating a 17-year incumbent by 109 votes. She would go on to serve five terms, overseeing the redevelopment of the Kenwood, Oakland, Douglas, Grand Boulevard and Hyde Park neighborhoods. During Preckwinkle’s nineteen year aldermanic tenure, she became known as a Chicago City Council’s progressive member and a champion for affordable housing. Preckwinkle was also a co-sponsor of the living wage ordinances that passed the City Council in 1998 and 2002.

Preckwinkle’s political service earned her Best Alderman Award from the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO), a not-for-profit, multi-partisan, independent political organization, in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2005 and 2008. She was also the recipient of the 1997 and 2009 Leon Despres Awards, named after the legendary, iconoclastic Chicago alderman. Starting in 1992, she also served as the Democratic Committeeman for the 4th Ward. Preckwinkle declared her intention to run for Cook County Board President in 2008. Two years later, she won a hotly contested democratic primary for the seat. Preckwinkle swept through the November 2010 general election, becoming the first female to serve as President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. She is married to Zeus Preckwinkle, has two children, and three grandchildren.

Toni Preckwinkle was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 19, 2012.

See how The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes her maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes her maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes the African American community in Minnesota
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes the history of the Rondo community in St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle talks about how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes her father's U.S. military service
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle lists her siblings and extended family members
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes her likeness to her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes her earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls her early experiences of bullying
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle remembers her paternal grandmother's house
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes her neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle remembers the Gorman School in St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls her childhood activities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle remembers the African American players on the Minnesota Vikings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls attending the Unitarian church
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle compares the black communities in St. Paul, Minnesota and Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle remembers Como Park Junior High School in St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes her family's civic engagement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle remembers President John Fitzgerald Kennedy's assassination
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls the political figures in Minnesota
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle remembers the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 14 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle remembers the discrimination against Native Americans in Minnesota
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes her paternal family's legacy at Washington High School in St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle remembers black quarterback Sandy Stephens
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls her activities in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls her decision to attend the University of Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle remembers her teachers at Washington High School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle talks about the rigor of the University of Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls her early work on political campaigns
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes the political climate at the University of Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls working for Paul Simon's campaign
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes her experiences at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes her transition to teaching
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes her master's thesis
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls teaching in the Chicago Public Schools
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls the events of 1968
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls meeting her husband
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls working for Ralph Metcalfe's campaign
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle remembers Chicago's aldermen during the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls her decision to run for alderman
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls Mayor Harold Washington's early political career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle remembers seeking Harold Washington's support
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls working for the Harold Washington administration
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle describes her platform as alderman of the 4th Ward in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls Mayor Harold Washington's death
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle talks about Eugene Sawyer's political career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls the federal investigations of the Chicago City Council
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle talks about black politics in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls her election to Chicago City Council
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle talks about public housing in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle talks about the demolition of housing projects in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls the conviction of Congressman Mel Reynolds
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - The Honorable Toni Preckwinkle recalls Alice Palmer's congressional campaign