Flynn Rush (D), a business service consultant with KRA/Westside American Job Center, has declared his candidacy for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD), observing that climate change is making inequities in communities of color and problematic water system infrastructure worse.
Rush, 53, of North Kenwood, ran in the open seat 25th state House district primary in 2018, coming in second place to now-Rep. Curtis J. Tarver II (D), and applied for the vacant 13th state Senate seat early the next year. Democratic committeepeople chose now-Sen. Robert Peters (D).
The MWRD oversees water infrastructure in Cook County — waterways, wastewater treatment, drainage and flood prevention. Its Stickney Plant in Cicero is the largest water treatment center in the world, and the MWRD controls thousands of acres of land in the county, mostly along waterways and reservoirs, which it can lease out to industrial entities.
Rush, for his part, also promised to bring transparency to a board that has been accused of clout-chasing and corruption in the past.
The MWRD has nine commissioners that serve staggered, six-year terms; three commissioners are up for election every two years because of the terms' staggering. Three seats are up for election in 2022; in recent years, the Democratic and Green parties have put forth candidates.
MWRD President Kari Steele has declared a primary challenge to Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi, a Hyde Park native. Rush said MWRD Vice President Barbara J. McGowan is retiring, and he said Commissioner Josina Morita is running for an open North Shore suburban seat on the county Board of Commissioners.
Rush is the son of 15-term United States Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1st), who served as an alderman and City Hall ally of Mayor Harold Washington before going to the capital. Political families are nothing new in government, and Rush noted he is a graduate of the Congressional Black Caucus's Political Leadership Institute. He has attended Harold Washington College and the McCormick Theological Seminary, 5460 S. University Ave.
"I'm running most definitely as my own man," he said. "I believe that God has given me my own set of footprints. My dad's done a great job. He's accomplished a lot, and I'm proud of what he's done, but I'm of a different generation. I see different issues he may not see. And I think there're things I can address that he may not be aware of on his level that I'm aware of. I know that I'm my own man, and I'm meant to contribute on my own in Cook County and in society at large."