John Fritchey

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John Fritchey
Member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners from the 10th District
Assumed office
2010 (2010)
Preceded by Forrest Claypool
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 11th district
In office
Preceded by Rod Blagojevich
Succeeded by Ann Williams
Personal details
Born (1964-03-02) March 2, 1964 (age 53)
Bossier City, Louisiana
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Michigan (B.A.)
Northwestern University (J.D.)
Profession Attorney

John Alden Fritchey IV (born March 2, 1964) is a Democratic member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, representing the 12th District since 2010, and a zoning attorney in Chicago. He was a state representative to the Illinois House of Representatives, and was a former candidate in a Democratic primary for the United States House of Representatives in 2009.

Early life and education[edit]

John Fritchey was born at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, Louisiana. His father, John Alden Fritchey III, was a native of Olney, Illinois, and a Vietnam veteran. His mother emigrated from Morocco. After living in Olney, home to three generations of his father's family, and later in Belleville, Illinois, John and his mother moved to Chicago where he attended grammar school and high school at The Latin School of Chicago.

He earned his bachelor's degree in economics in 1986 from the University of Michigan. Fritchey returned home to earn his law degree from Northwestern University in 1989.

After graduating from law school, Fritchey worked as an Illinois Assistant Attorney General from 1989 to 1991.[1][2]

Professional career[edit]

Fritchey is an attorney in private practice[3] with a specialty in the area of zoning. Fritchey does zoning work before the Chicago City Council's Committee on Zoning.[4] Fritchey is a lobbyist registered with the City of Chicago.[5]

In 2002 Fritchey represented hip hop record producer Rudy Acosta,[6] president of Legion Records, in a zoning change to permit the construction of "a 44-foot-high, approximately 7,000-square-foot structure festooned with turrets and battlements" in the residential neighborhood of Independence Park on Chicago's northwest side. The City of Chicago's Department of Zoning advised against the zoning change.[7] Neighbors complained[8] they never were told of the proposed zoning change despite a requirement they be notified by certified mail.[9] Fritchey said the residents may not have read the notices: "...if they don't like the zoning change they shouldn't blame me because they didn't pay attention to the notice."[10] Fritchey threatened the neighbors with a defamation lawsuit.[7]

Illinois State Representative[edit]

In 1996, Fritchey was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives at age 32.[4]

Fritchey was Chairman of the Consumer Protection Committee from 1999 to 2002. His efforts to rein in escalating ATM fees received national attention.[11][12]

Fritchey formerly had two state-registered political action committees, Friends of John Fritchey and Chicago PAC,[13] and the federally registered Fritchey for Us.[14] [15]

Democratic campaign for U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Fritchey was one of many candidates who ran for former US Representative Rahm Emanuel's seat in Illinois's 5th congressional district special election, 2009.[16][17] In the primary election on March 3, 2009.[18] Fritchey finished second to Mike Quigley in the 12-way race for the Democratic Party nomination.[19] Quigley bested Fritchey in Fritchey's home district, the 11th Illinois Legislative District, and in Fritchey's home ward, the 32nd.[20][21][22]

Chicago ward committeeman[edit]

In the summer of 2003, long-time 32nd Ward committeeman and former 32nd Ward alderman Theris "Terri" Gabinski announced he was stepping down from the committeeman post. On the day of the filing deadline, December 15, 2003, Fritchey filed to run, but later withdrew, and Gabinski ran unopposed.[23] Four years later, in 2007, Gabinski again announced his retirement from committeeman. On July 27, 2007 Fritchey again announced his candidacy.[24] Fritchey challenged the nominating petitions of his only challenger, Roger Romanelli,[25] and Fritchey ran unopposed on February 5, 2008.

On February 14, 2012 Fritchey withdrew[26] from the 2012 Committeeman election, leaving the post to challenger Alderman Scott Waguespack.

Cook County Commissioner[edit]

Fritchey declined to run for re-election to the Illinois House in 2010, instead running for a seat on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, formerly held by Forrest Claypool. Fritchey was endorsed by both Claypool and Congressman Mike Quigley.[27] According to the Chicago Board of Elections, Fritchey won the election with 75 percent of the vote.[28] As commissioner of the 12th District, Fritchey has addressed a variety of issues on behalf of Cook County residents. These include:

  • Legislation against the sales tax and sugar tax. Fritchey sponsored legislation to roll back the County sales tax and voted against County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's legislation to later increase the sales tax again.[29] He was also the first commissioner to come out against the recently enacted sugary drink tax and helped lead the fight against it.[30]
  • Property tax/sales tax freezes to 2020. Fritchey drafted and helped pass the Cook County Taxation Predictability and Long-Term Fiscal Forecasting Amendment, which freezes the county's property and sales tax rates until January 1, 2020. The ordinance further requires that prior to any future efforts to increase either the sales or property tax rates, the county Bureau of Finance must provide the Board with a fiscal forecast that analyzes revenues, expenditures and planned debt issuance for three years should the tax change occur.
  • Consolidated offices of the Recorder of Deeds and the County Clerk. Fritchey drafted and passed legislation that gave voters the option to eliminate the office of the Recorder of Deeds and merge its functions into the office of the County Clerk. In the November 2016 general election, voters overwhelmingly approved the ballot referendum, and the two offices will be merged by 2020.[31]
  • City/County collaboration. Fritchey was selected to serve on a city/county joint-collaboration committee created to increase government efficiency. After analyzing and reporting on duplicative spending, the committee paved the way for collaborations between the two governments that have secured almost $70 million in savings.[32]
  • Parental Leave Reform. Fritchey's legislation to update the county's parental leave policy allows new mothers and fathers to claim disability in order to receive paid parental leave, enabling them to focus on the needs of their families.[33]
  • Paid Sick Leave. Fritchey sponsored a law that requires employers to give workers paid sick time, bringing the suburbs in line with existing city laws.
  • Sweatshop-Free Procurement. Fritchey drafted and passed an amendment to the county's procurement code that prevents any county contract from acquiring goods from sweatshop labor.[34]
  • Government transparency. As chairman of the board's Technology and Innovation Committee, Fritchey spearheaded development of the budget transparency website,[35] which presents visitors with a visual breakdown of how the county spends taxpayer dollars. Fritchey also passed legislation that made Cook County one of the largest municipalities in the country to open up its data to the public. As a result of his Open Government initiative, people now have access to information about how Cook County operates.
  • Bail Bond Reform. Fritchey has worked on revamping Cook County's bail bond system to make it more efficient and fair.[36]
  • Commonsense marijuana policies. During his tenure in the Legislature, Fritchey co-sponsored the bill that created Illinois' recently enacted medical cannabis programs.[37] He also led the call for the City of Chicago to allow police officers to issue tickets for possession of small amounts of marijuana, rather than arresting offenders.
  • Violence prevention. Fritchey created the Cook County Violence Prevention, Intervention and Reduction Advisory Committee. This advocacy and resource group promotes and helps fund various violence prevention programs throughout the county.[38]
  • Animal welfare. A tireless animal rights advocate, Fritchey wrote and introduced the ordinance that bans retail sales of puppy mill dogs,[39] ordered an audit of the Cook County Animal Care & Control department[40] and passed legislation that created a countywide Animal Abuse Registry.[41]

Personal life[edit]

Fritchey's former father-in-law, Samuel V. P. Banks, was a criminal defense attorney with considerable influence in Chicago's 36th Ward on the Far Northwest Side[7] until his death in 2010.[42] A former Cook County prosecutor and Chicago police officer, Samuel Banks was called a powerful behind-the-scenes figure in his brother William's 36th Ward Democratic organization.[42]


  1. ^ Schaper, David (2 March 2009). "23 Compete For Emanuel's Congressional Seat". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  2. ^ Novak, Tim (2005-11-28). "Attorney cashes in on uncle’s turf". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  3. ^ Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois. "Lawyer Search". Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  4. ^ a b Stewart, Russ (2009-05-17). "Contested Races Likely in 35th, 36th and 47th Wards". Chicago's Northwest Side Press. Nadig Newspapers. Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  5. ^ Chicago Board of Ethics (2008-12-04). "List of Registered Lobbyists" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  6. ^ Kass, John (2008-04-18). "Welcome wagon may roll past King Rudolph of Clout". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  7. ^ a b c Scheier, Lee (1 May 2006). "Under Siege". Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  8. ^ Kass, John (2008-04-23). How to build a castle in Chicago. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-02-26. 
  9. ^ Washburn, Gary (2005-11-15). "Plan for `castle' riles North Side neighbors - Group files complaint over zoning change". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  10. ^ Joravsky, Ben (2005-12-02). "Wait Till They Find Out About the Moat". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 
  11. ^ Tucci, Linda. "He's back: Illinois' Fritchey takes on ATM fees -- again", St. Louis Business Journal, 24 February 2002.
  12. ^ "ATM fee legislation rearing its head once again in Illinois", Northwestern Financial Review, 1 March 2002. accessed 25 May 2011.
  13. ^ Canon, Ramsin (10 July 2005). "It Has to Mean Something". Gapers Block. Retrieved 2009-02-17.  External link in |work= (help)
  14. ^ Fritchey for Us
  15. ^ Illinois State Board of Elections. "Campaign Disclosure". Archived from the original on 2009-02-21. Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  16. ^ Seelye, Katharine Q. (25 February 2009). "In Chicago House Race, a Free-for-All". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-11-13. 
  17. ^ Associated Press. Emanuel's Seat, Chicago Tribune, 21 January 2009.
  18. ^ Associated Press. "Ill. GOP: Special vote chance to replace senator" Chicago Tribune, 5 January 2009.
  19. ^ Mihalopoulos, Dan (2009-03-04). "How Quigley claimed Democratic nomination in Rahm Emanuel race". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  20. ^ "IL-05: A Detailed Look at the Special Election". Swing State Project.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  21. ^ Ryan Rafi, Sarah; Tareen, Sophia (2009-04-03). "Mike Quigley Wins Democratic Primary To Replace Rahm Emanuel In Congress". The Huffington Post. Associated Press. 
  22. ^ Mihalopoulos, Dan (2009-03-03). "How Quigley claimed Democratic nomination in Rahm Emanuel race". Chicago Tribune. 
  23. ^ Joravsky, Ben (16 January 2004). "Backroom Boogie: How did the mayor get two popular candidates to agree to drop out of a potentially gripping race?". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  24. ^ "Rep. Fritchey Kicks off Reelection Campaign, Also Announces Bid for 32nd Ward Committeeman" (PDF). Office of State Representative John Fritchey. 27 July 2007. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  25. ^ Joravsky, Ben (2007-12-18). "First round: Fritchey". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  26. ^ . 2012-02-14  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "Fritchey To Run For Cook County Board". 
  28. ^ Parker, Alex. "Fritchey easily wins Claypool's seat" Archived 2011-05-25 at the Wayback Machine., Chicago Current, 3 February 2010.
  29. ^ Chicago Tribune (July 15, 2015). "How they voted on Cook County sales tax hike". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  30. ^ Dardick, Hal (November 14, 2016). "Cook County, home of Chicago, becomes largest locale with a soda tax". Governing. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  31. ^ Editorial Board (June 29, 2016). "Finally, Cook County Board empowers voters to (slightly) downsize government". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  32. ^ City of Chicago/Cook County (February 2012). "Joint Committee on City-County Collaboration Report" (PDF). City of Chicago/Cook County. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  33. ^ Illinois Observer (March 19, 2013). "Fritchey maternity leave modernization policy faces county board vote". Illinois Observer. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  34. ^ Dellimore, Craig (April 24, 2015). "Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey pushes anti-sweatshop ordinance". CBS Chicago. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  35. ^ Howard, Alex. "Look at Cook sets high bar for open government data visualizations". O'Reilly Radar. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  36. ^ Dumke, Mick (October 16, 2013). "Do we have the right people locked up?". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  37. ^ Dumke, Mick (April 28, 2014). "Illinois politicians now talking openly about legalizing pot". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  38. ^ Zolkower-Kutz, Hallie (November 5, 2012). "Cook County allocates $2 million to violence prevention". The Columbia Chronicle. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  39. ^ Dardick, Hal (April 9, 2014). "Cook County passes suburban puppy mill ban". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  40. ^ Crosby, Rachel (August 21, 2015). "County audit: missing pets rarely united in animal services 'maze'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  41. ^ Dudek, Mitch (May 10, 2016). "Ordinance calls for Animal Abuse Registry, deny pets to abusers". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  42. ^ a b Lee, William (2010-03-07). "Sam Banks, former 36th Ward political figure, dies". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-03-08. 

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