RACE: Cook County Board of Commissioners

About the Candidate

Name: Donna Miller
DOB: Sept. 7
Occupation: Cook County Commissioner 6th District
Political Experience: Cook County Commissioner 2018-present
Website: www.godonnago.net
Twitter: @godonnagoIL
Facebook: @CookCountyCommissionerDonnaMiller
Instagram: @godonnagoIL

Candidate Statement

Hi, I am Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller and I’m running for re-election.

I am a mother, wife and the sole commissioner that resides in the Southland. I have made it a priority to ensure that the issues facing the residents of the 6th District are heard on this Cook County Board. More importantly, I make sure that my district is offered the same services as any other community across Cook County. As one of the most diverse districts, I have made it my mission to work and stand up for women’s reproductive rights and workers rights and to work with federal, state, and local leaders and organizations to bring services to our region.

During my first term, I have been focused on eliminating health care disparities to improve health care outcomes, making investments in small businesses located in the Southland a priority, and growing the economy as we prepare for the future. I secured millions in grant funding awarded to the 6th District for COVID Relief, FEMA, first responders, and other vital programs. I also secured funding to keep small businesses open that were impacted by the pandemic and led the charge in coordinating food drives and partnering with the USDA and local agencies to provide food resources for thousands of families.

We have made progress in delivering results for Cook County families throughout my term as commissioner. I am committed to growing our economy, improving our health care, and investing in our small businesses.

I am proud of my accomplishments during my first term, but there is still more
to do. I look forward to continuing to support Cook County families by delivering results throughout the South and Southwest suburbs. And this is why I am asking for your vote: to continue to work on behalf of the over 300,000 residents every day. Early voting starts Monday, October 24th and election day is Tuesday, November 8th. I’m Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller and as I always say: Together We Can Make A Difference.

Candidate Q&A

Why are you running?

I am running for re-election to continue the work I started. I have been focused on work that eliminates healthcare disparities to improve healthcare outcomes,  making investments in small businesses located in the Southland, and growing the economy as we prepare for the future. As a healthcare professional for over 25 years, with my community involvement and my relationships at all levels of government, I am uniquely qualified as Cook County Commissioner of the 6th District.  

My background in healthcare helped prepare me to effectively meet the needs our communities faced during the COVID-19 Pandemic which could have never been planned for. I have spent decades reviewing evidence-based medicine peer-reviewed data, clinical data, and pharmacoeconomic data, all of which were crucial to understanding the needs that would need to be focused on during the pandemic.

The influx of funding from the federal government during the pandemic provided once in a lifetime resources to the county that required specific concentration on areas of need that I helped streamline towards suburban Cook County. My legislation created a virtual countywide CPR/AED training program for all newly hired and current Cook County employees and was awarded a National Achievement Award from NACO (National Association of Counties) My ability to analyze data, coordinate & communicate efforts across 36 municipalities has proven to be an asset on the county board.

What does this office do well, and what needs fixing?

The office of Cook County Commissioner is focused on addressing the needs of public health. I often say “Public Health is the Health of the Public” and the importance of this was amplified during this Global Pandemic. Responding to this once-in-a-lifetime public health crisis was swift and had many layers to it. Although many lives were lost there were many lives saved as well. We are still experiencing the effects of the pandemic and will for many years to come. Cook County Government stood up numerous programs for small businesses, helped constituents with immediate needs such as mortgage and rental assistance, and most important educated and vaccinated thousands of people.

What needs fixing is the amount of charity care at Cook County Hospital being the main burden solely on this health system and not shared with other private hospitals throughout Cook County and the State of Illinois. The need for access to healthcare continues to grow and CCHHS will not be able to maintain the demand for services and meet the needs of people in Cook County without more funding on a long-term basis. CCHHS loses millions due to inefficient billing and coding of claims and the prior authorization process not being managed properly. Many of these claims are the result of small errors. I would like to see greater efficiency and improved accountability in this area.

What is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how do you plan on addressing it?

One of the biggest challenges facing the County is access to Mental Health Services. According to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, two of the most vulnerable regions in Illinois are South Cook County and West Cook County. Many of the highest-ranking communities on the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) are located in the south suburbs and the 6th District.

One of our Policy Goals of Healthy Communities outlined in the Cook County Policy Roadmap includes improving access to and integration of high-quality responsive healthcare services includes the South Suburbs.

The closing of mental health clinics and disinvestment in behavioral health services has had a dramatic effect on Suburban Cook County manifested by the opioid crisis and large Cook County Jail population with behavioral/mental health needs.

County taxpayers are disproportionately paying the price of years of funding cuts to community-based behavioral health services. We continue to watch the negative effects on patients, our communities, and our finances. Clearly, it’s time we expand our portfolio of behavioral health services and I have been and will continue to be a vocal advocate on this issue.

What specific steps would you take to ensure your office is accessible and responsive to your constituents?

Since being sworn into office, I opened my district office in the middle of my district which is located in a municipal office building. This provides streamlined services and accessibility. My office is accessible and very responsive to constituents and will continue to do this moving forward. I take pride in having great staff in my office that answers the phone, responds to emails, communicates with our internal stakeholders, and genuinely enjoys meeting the needs of our constituents. 

I send out an eBlast Newsletter twice a month to communicate governmental and community events that occur within the district and beyond. Communication and follow-up are key values we all share in the 6th District and having an open door policy is the key.