Written by Tim Hadac
Orland Park resident Elizabeth “Liz” Doody Gorman, seeking a fourth term as Cook County commissioner in the 17th District, is opposed in Tuesday’s Republican primary by Burr Ridge resident Barbara Bellar.
The winner will square off in November with Orland Park resident Jim Hickey, who is running unopposed on the Democratic side.
Gorman, a self-described conservative “on fiscal and social issues,” is perhaps best known for her successful leadership role in opposing and later repealing the 133 percent tax hike pushed by then-County Board President Todd Stroger in 2008 and passed by the board’s Democratic majority.
“Throughout my time in office, I’ve been a strong advocate for tax reform, budget and operational efficiencies, especially in the area of new technology,” Gorman told The Reporter. “I have worked hard to fight for tax reform on multiple fronts. In 2013, I successfully sponsored the tax rate cut to the county’s Motor Vehicle Transfer Tax. Also, I successfully fought $1.6 billion in new tax proposals over my term in office [since 2002].”
Gorman also said she has worked hard for greater transparency throughout county government. “I sponsored an ethics law requiring greater disclosure and transparency for Cook County government and spearheaded the charge that resulted in the resolution that led to the abolishment of the corruption-riddled Cook County Regional Office of Education,” she said.
She has also endeavored to “make the Cook County Forest Preserve District a national leader in the areas of recreation, restoration and conservation,” Gorman said.
The incumbent said that her staff has assisted hundreds of constituents with property tax appeals and numerous other service requests. “Infrastructure improvements were made a priority for the 17th District especially in the area of flood mitigation. I’m proud to highlight these initiatives, services and programs,” she said.
Gorman, who holds a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota. She lives with her husband, Gerald, and sons, Conor, Liam and Shane.
If re-elected, Gorman plans to “continue the reform movement that is underway at Cook County. At no other time in recent memory has Cook County made the kinds of positive strides in reform than over the last four years. She added that she plans to “remain vigilant in my effort to reform tax and fee measures wherever possible, to have Cook County continue to invest in innovative technology to reduce costs and improve efficiencies for county services and programs, and to stabilize the long-term fiscal health of the county.”
Bellar, an attorney and family-practice physician, is perhaps best known for her videotaped, one-sentence dissection of Obamacare, which has gained national and even international acclaim among conservatives—earning nearly 3.7 million hits on Bellar’s YouTube channel in less than two years.
She describes herself as a conservative dedicated to “limited government, fiscal conservatism, transparency and accountability and respect for life at all stages.
“I will not support or vote for any tax increase and will strive to reduce taxes and create jobs at every opportunity,” she added. “I will decline receiving any governmental pension. I will not be influenced by any lobbyists.”
Bellar said her medical and public health background help make her qualified to serve as a county commissioner.
“As a physician, I have what it takes to oversee the budget and functioning of Stroger Hospital and initiate audits to reduce waste and excess spending,” she told The Reporter.
“I can evaluate and assist with the functioning of the Cook County Department of Public Health, from environmental health to immunizations,” she added. “I can apply knowledgeable judgment on every level of public health issues and effect critical change.”
Bellar also said that if elected, she will work to provide more effective oversight at the Cook County Department of Corrections. “I will address the serious and dangerous overcrowding, delayed dockets, and support electronic monitoring of inmates,” she said.
She added that she plans to use county government to help raise awareness of the needs of military veterans and help increase employment opportunities.