The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, once strictly a drainage and wastewater-treatment agency, has become a greater force in recent years for environmental progress. The district has made an ever greater effort to reclaim, process and reuse solid waste, stormwater and discarded materials such as yard and food waste.
To further push the agency in that important new direction, we endorse Debra Shore, Kari K. Steele and Martin J. Durkan in the Democratic primary election for three open six-year terms.
We also endorse write-in candidate Cam Davis for a separate two-year unexpired term, also in the Democratic primary.
Those four candidates are the best suited to do the all-important job of reducing flooding and protecting our water as the foundation of a growing economy.
Since Shore’s election to the MWRD in 2006 as an outspoken environmentalist, she has worked to implement stormwater management rules to reduce flooding and to improve the water quality runoff and treated wastewater that flows into Chicago area waterways. She wants to reduce pollution from illegal dumping on MWRD land and encourage “green infrastructure” that reduces the amount of rainwater entering sewers and causing overflows.
Steele worked as a water sampler and water chemist at the MWRD and the Chicago Water Department before being elected as the only chemist on the nine-member MWRD board. In her next term, she wants to continue to promote stormwater management and green infrastructure and to help lead resource-recovery efforts at the agency, whose phosphate-recovery facility is the largest in the world.
Durkan, who joined the board two years ago and now is running for a full term, has a labor background that includes working with the International Union of Operating Engineers. He has impressed environmentalists with his work supporting progressive water reuse initiatives and clean water issues, such as swimming.
Davis has spent more than 30 years working on water issues as a litigating attorney, environmental policy expert, a law professor, president and CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes point person in the Obama administration. He is setting the goal of making the Chicago area the green infrastructure capital of the world, and he has the background and understanding to help do it.
Davis is running as a write-in candidate for an unexpired two-year term to replace the late MWRD Commissioner Timothy Bradford. Because Bradford died at a point when it was too late for other candidates to get on the ballot, the ballot will say “No candidate.” Voters should write in Cam Davis’ name.
In the race for a different unexpired two-year term, Kimberly Neely Dubuclet is running unopposed.
Marcelino Garcia is also running for a six-year seat on the board.
When Democrats running for open commissioner seats for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District visited the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23, we asked them to introduce themselves to voters. Watch responses from four endorsed candidates — Debra Shore, Kari K. Steele, Martin J. Durkan and Cam Davis (write-in) — and one who is unopposed, Kimberly Neely Dubuclet:
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