Ready! Set! Go?
Sneed has learned Cook County Board Commissioner Bridget Gainer just cleaned out her desk at AON Corporation, where she’s worked in a variety of roles, including global public affairs, for years.
Gainer’s departure from the insurance giant marks a major move by a woman who is expected to toss her hat in the mayoral ring in an effort to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
It follows a foxy move that could be construed as a way to throw Gainer off her political game. One of her top fundraisers, Katelynd Duncan, recently was hired by Progress Chicago, an advocacy group backed by Emanuel’s righthand man Michael Sacks — a development tipped by Crain’s Chicago Business columnist Greg Hinz. Though Progress Chicago says on its website it “will not participate in any political activity on behalf of or against any candidate for office” its mission is to “spotlight and champion the policies and people that have brought about progress,” including reported Chicago Public Schools advances that have happened Emanuel’s administration.
Word is Gainer, who has managed to raise about $400,000 for a mayoral run, is expected to announce her candidacy soon. She would be the third woman to enter the growing mayoral race to unseat Emanuel, joining attorney Lori Lightfoot, who once headed Emanuel’s police board, and Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.
A major advocate of neighborhood development, Gainer is a former city planner and Chicago Park District director of lakefront services under former Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Gainer, a Democrat, has stated her proudest accomplishment on the county board is the creation of the Cook County Land Bank, which acquires vacant properties in inner-city neighborhoods for resale to predominantly black and Hispanic developers who rehabilitate those properties and create affordable housing.