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Todd Stroger says political future may bring him to water reclamation district

Todd Stroger says he may run for a countywide post. | Natasha Korecki/Sun-Times

After attending Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s inauguration on Monday, former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger said he’s “thinking about politics.”

His political aspirations, however, have undergone a reality check.

“I’m thinking about running for water reclamation district, a countywide race,” Stroger said. “I’ll lose a little weight, it’ll be good for me.”

Toni Preckwinkle defeated Stroger’s re-election efforts in 2010. Stroger has previously told the Sun-Times that bad publicity during his tenure as board president has hurt his job opportunities. That led him to take a $30,000-a-year position with a South Side alderman.

“I’m just doing a little work for Ald. [Howard] Brookins and thinking about politics,” Stroger said.

Stroger was a state legislator and Chicago alderman. Then his powerful father, former Cook County President John Stroger, suffered a debilitating stroke, and Democratic Party bosses put Todd Stroger on the ballot instead. During his tenure as board president, he grabbed headlines for handing out high-level patronage jobs to friends and marshaling a sales tax increase into effect. Later, two high-level staffers were convicted on corruption charges.

The nine board members of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago are charged with protecting the quality and safety of the area’s water, treating wastewater, combatting flooding and other duties related to the water supply.

Newly elected Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th), a nephew and grandson of past Chicago mayors, used his spot on the board as a steppingstone to the City Council.