Toni Preckwinkle

Toni Preckwinkle


Cook County Board of Commissioners

Chicago, IL USA

Show up. Be somebody that people can count on.


By Roadtrip Nation

Toni Preckwinkle


My road in life has been direct.
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to become a teacher.
I discovered another interest in politics when I was 16 years old—I worked on the campaign for Katie McWatt, the first Black woman to run for city council in St. Paul, Minnesota, where I grew up.
I moved to Chicago, Illinois, for college, where I earned my bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in teaching from the University of Chicago.
After college, I taught high school history and continued to be very involved in politics in the Hyde Park-Kenwood neighborhood in Chicago.
I spent many years working for other great people in politics before I was elected into office myself as alderman of Chicago’s 4th Ward—this was after two prior unsuccessful campaigns.
After five terms as an alderman in the Chicago City Council, I was elected as the first female president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners in 2010—I’ve held the office ever since!
Keep following my journey


High School
History, General
University of Chicago
University of Chicago



I’m responsible for the public health and public safety of Cook County, Illinois.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Upholding a Cause and Belief

Day to Day

An example of a typical day for me starts at a press conference where I announce grants for a community or public service organization. As most people in politics, I might attend a memorial or funeral. Then I'll spend the rest of the day in meetings regarding things like tax funds and community development. All in all, my work primarily consists of meetings and press conferences.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for everyone

If you want to work in politics, I suggest getting started by working on a political campaign. I started my career in politics by working on the political campaign for a city council candidate when I was 16 years old. There are a variety of different things you can do to contribute to a campaign, so you're bound to find a role that matches your interests and personality. Another way to get involved in politics is to find an internship in an elected official's office.


The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"I'm not cut out for this high-level school. Maybe I should just go to school back home instead."