Josina Morita becomes 1st Asian American woman to serve as 13th District Cook County commissioner

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) — A troupe of Chinese lion dancers welcomed 13th District Cook County Commissioner Josina Morita to the stage at Evanston Township High School Sunday, where she was sworn in as the first Asian American woman to serve in that capacity.

Described as the most diverse district in Cook County, the 13th District stretches from West Ridge and Rogers Park in Chicago, to the North Shore suburbs of Wilmette and Winnetka.

Morita replaces Larry Suffredin, who retired early after 20 years in office.

She was hailed Sunday by other female leaders, from Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

“I’m very grateful to her to take this on. This is a moment in our history when it’s a challenge to be a public official,” Preckwinkle said.

“Josina is a force of nature,’ said Schakowsky (D-IL). “There is no doubt about it. She has been a presence in our community. She has been a leader. “

Until now, Morita, who is also a mother of two young children, served as commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. After taking the oath Sunday, she also brings the total number of women on the board to six, which is a new record.

“I may not be Assyrian or a refugee, Black or Latino, Muslim or Jewish, LGBT or Q. But I do know what it’s like to be unseen, unheard and unrepresented,” Morita said. “To be told that, statistically, you do not matter. Today, I am the one being sworn in but I am pulling up a chair for everyone to be seated at the table.”

Because the entire newly elected Cook County Board will be sworn in two weeks from now, Morita will be sworn in again then, along with yet another woman. That will bring the total of women serving on the board to eight of the 17 positions.

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November 20, 2022 at 07:17PM

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