John H Stroger Jr
Distinguished Civil and Political Leader A committed public servant, leader, volunteer and family man, John H. Stroger Jr. is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all the residents of Cook County in Chicago, Illinois. In 1994 he became the first African-American president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners and was re-elected to a third term in November 2002.
Born May 19, 1929 in Helena, Arkansas, to Ella and John Stroger Sr., he attended Eliza Miller High School and graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. In 1965 he received his law degree from DePaul University Law School.
Stroger moved to Chicago in 1953 and became involved in Chicago’s South Side Democratic Party. In 1970, he was elected as a commissioner of the Cook County Board and impressively went on to chair every major committee up until he took up the presidency of the board. During his tenure as a commissioner, Stroger sponsored the county’s first legislation ensuring that all businesses that compete for contracts receive equal consideration. Some of his other accomplishments on behalf of the county include ensuring district representation on the county board to make commissioners more accountable to residents and constituents. Additionally, he has served a term as president of the National Association of Counties and was later appointed by President Bill Clinton as a member of the Advisory Committee on Intergovernmental Relations.
Stroger’s leadership in Cook County has led to strong fiscal management and an emphasis on crime fighting, particularly juvenile and gang violence, through preventive measures. Dedicated to health care, Stroger won approval for a new Cook County Hospital which resulted in the facility, which opened its doors in December 2002, being named the John H. Stroger, Jr. Cook County Hospital.
Along with his wife, Yonnie, Stroger continues to live on Chicago’s South Side where the couple raised their three children and are longtime members of St. Felicitas Catholic Church.