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Donna Miller knocked on as many doors as necessary (and then some) in order to secure the number of signatures she will ultimately need to unseat incumbent sixth district Cook County Commissioner Edward M. Moody in the upcoming election.

With more than 1,500 local resident petition signatures collected — four times more than the required amount — Miller said she intends to become the new voice representing the Southland. She said Moody’s appointment presents a “challenge” among the people as he was not elected to the office.

“Now that people have the opportunity to vote, to be involved in the process, I think that’s going to make people more involved,” said Miller.

Miller previously sought elected office in 2012 when she challenged incumbent Ill. State Sen. Napoleon Harris (Dist. 15) in the Democratic Primary where she was defeated. Harris would go on to win the general election. She said she learned following that campaign to “remain vigilant.”

“I didn’t give up on my community or stop being involved so I think that’s what it takes to keep building and keep building coalitions,” said Miller. “I also learned issues based politics are so important. You have to have something that you care about; you can’t just run because you want to do it.”

Miller, a healthcare professional for 25 years, said it was her professional background along with her desire to do more good that inspired her to run for office. “I’ve kept going to different meetings and had different conversations that involved health care, which is definitely my wheelhouse. I just felt like someone who has this expertise should be sitting at the table and addressing these issues that I have dealt with for many years and have seen firsthand from … covering Cook County hospitals [as] a drug rep,” said Miller

Beyond her health care focus, Miller said it’s time to create “synergy” between the various levels of government to create business opportunities in the region. She said  she also wants to take a look at the various tax options to find ways to make the district more competitive while also expanding.

“I feel that if we all work together, we can bring businesses to the people who need them but also create something that’s never been done before… maybe there is a business partnership that can be worked on,” said Miller.

Identifying the issues facing Cook County’s sixth district is of prime significance to Miller. The district consists of the municipalities of Harvey, Dixmoor, Olympia Fields, Country Club Hills, Chicago Heights, Calumet Park, and more. Miller said due to the district’s proximity to Will County and Indiana, its issues are unique. “Don’t forget about what happens in the south suburbs; it may not be the same as the issues on the South Side, North Side or the West Side [of Chicago],” said Miller. “We have our own unique challenges and differences that one has to continuously point out.”

For instance, Miller said the sugary beverage tax introduced at the county level was felt “immediately” by businesses throughout the sixth district who witnessed firsthand consumers travel outside of Cook County to do their shopping, which was not limited to just sugary beverages but to a number of items. Moody was one of several commissioners to vote for the tax, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune.

“If you’re going to go to Jewel in Will County, why not stop by Target and pick up a few other things, or you might go shopping at Old Navy and people were saying that as common conversation,” said Miller.  “We in the Southland need to make sure that not only do we have businesses that want to come here but also that we are benefitting from any sort of economic recovery that’s happening in Illinois and the nation.”

For more information about Donna Miller’s campaign, visit friendsfordonnamiller.com/.

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