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Toni Preckwinkle's Election Night Speech

Apr 2 2019

A few moments ago, I called my opponent Lori Lightfoot to congratulate her after a hard fought campaign.

This may not be the outcome we wanted.  But while I may be disappointed, I am not disheartened.

For one, this is clearly an historic night. Not long ago, two African American women vying for this position would have been unthinkable. And while it’s true we took different paths to get here, tonight is about the path forward. 

For I still believe in the power of public service. It’s why I’ve dedicated so much of my life to it. It’s why I will continue to dedicate my life to it. I will wake up every day - including tomorrow - just as I have for the last 25 years - figuring how to advocate for, to work for and to fight for my constituents.

That’s my motivation and I will take it with me as I proudly continue to serve as your Cook County Board President. We’ve made previously unthinkable change, a reality. And there’s more we can do. We expanded healthcare access to hundreds of thousands. But if we want truly healthy communities, we have to push that beyond the walls of a doctor’s office. We overhauled cash bond so that thousands fewer must wait behind bars simply because they are too poor to pay for their freedom. We must continue to work collaboratively with all the stakeholders, especially our community partners, to address the factors that bring too many of our Black and Latinx residents in contact with the criminal justice system in the first place.  

We will continue to fight for economic equity and infrastructure improvements. We will reach for new goals around sustainability; demand more opportunities for the under-employed and unemployed. 

At the end of the day, that’s what’s truly historic about this election - not simply race or gender - but our values. This campaign was about the real issues of working class families throughout our neighborhoods.

This was a campaign where support for an elected school board was a benchmark. Where a commitment to affordable housing was a requirement. Where we focused not solely on big business - but real, living wages. Where we didn’t just talk about being world-class city, we acknowledged the long-term, institutional inequities that stop too many of our communities from feeling that they can ever truly share in all this city has to offer.

That’s historic.

That’s something to be proud of.

While those issues didn’t always dominate the press - they did shape this campaign. That’s why, the work we’ve done, the values we’ve fought for, that doesn’t end tonight.

And it’s because of you. So thank you to - my fellow public servants; our faith leaders and community organizations, the countless individuals - who donated, called, knocked doors, talked to neighbors and friends and came out to vote. I’m so grateful to have earned your support.

And what I say to you is...keep fighting. Nothing worth fighting for is ever easy -- but it’s always, always, always worth it to fight for what you believe in.

I’m going to keep fighting too.

Thank you!