April 09, 2012

First woman to head Cook County Board to speak

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The first woman to serve as president of the Cook County Board will discuss her life and career in politics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Bobbie Steele will offer insights about her two-decade experience in government, including her work on public health policies for the poor, at 11:30 a.m., Friday, April 13. The presentation will be in the Institute lobby, 1231 Lincoln Drive, in the old U.S. Forestry Building.

The presentation is part of the Institute’s “Women in Politics” and “Pizza and Politics” series.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to attend the session with Bobbie Steele, former Cook County Board president. For more information, contact Matt Baughman, associate director, at 618/453-4009, or 618/201-0082.

“This will be a great opportunity for students to get a look at urban politics in Illinois and the challenges candidates, particularly women, face while running for office,” said David Yepsen, Institute director.  “Also, Bobbie Steele’s perspective as an African American -- and the first woman to serve as board president -- is a unique one.  Students interested in politics and political careers can learn a lot from her.”

The event is free, but Institute officials encourage registration.  To register, contact Institute project coordinator Carol Greenlee at 618/453-4078 or by email at cgreenlee@siu.edu.

Steele was interim president of the Cook County Board from August to December 2006, and at one time was the longest-serving African American woman in county government.  Steele also gained national attention for her work on public health issues for indigent people, and worked to establish minority and female participation in county contract bids.  Steele was also the first African American woman to serve as finance committee chair of the Cook County Forest Preserve District.

For more information on the program, contact the Institute at 618/453-4009 or visit paulsimoninstitute.org/.