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Vallas May Run for County Board President

By Kevin Robinson in News on Feb 5, 2009 4:05PM

You remember Paul Vallas, right? He was Daley's CEO of the Chicago Public Schools from 1995 through 2001, until he left CPS amid criticism from the mayor and a new teacher's union leader who ran on an anti-Vallas platform. After coming in second to Blagojevich in the Democratic primary, Vallas left town to become CEO of the Philadelphia public schools. He's been running the New Orleans since 2007.

2009_1_cps.gif Now Vallas, who initially agreed to stay in NOLA through the 2009-10 school year, wants to run for Cook County Board President. As a Republican. In an exclusive interview with Carol Marin, Vallas said he's setting up an exploratory committee to look into the possibility of raising money and building support. "I wouldn't be setting up a committee if I wasn't going to run," Vallas said. "If the support is there, I'll do it."

Although the current county board president, Todd Stroger, is unpopular with voters, Vallas faces a crowded field of candidates, including Republicans Tony Peraica and Matt Murphy, the State Senator from Palatine who helped oust Rod Blagojevich. And if Stroger doesn't survive the primary, politically, Vallas could face a host of Democratic challengers, including Forrest Claypool, county sherriff Tom Dart, county assessor James Houlihan, county circuit court clerk Dorothy Brown and alderman Toni Preckwinkle. "Cook County is broken, and I like fixing things that are broken," Vallas said. "I've really been an independent reformer. In Philadelphia and New Orleans, I worked for Republicans."