By Crusader Staff
Bill Lowry has a famous name. Most times people confuse him with his father, William A. Lowry, the civil rights and civic icon who recently retired from the Chicago Community Trust. However, while the son may share a name with his famous dad, this Lowry is heading into politics as he gears up to replace Commissioner Jerry Butler (3rd) District, who is expected to not seek re-election to the Cook County Board.
Lowry is expected to file petitions the week of November 27th in an attempt to get his name on the Democratic ballot for the Illinois Primary in March 2018.
“Commissioner Butler has led the 3rd District for a long time and has served the public well,” said Lowry. “People are looking for bold leadership and someone who will be both accessible and accountable. The first thing I’ll do is open an office. Being able to listen to people is one of the first rules of leadership. I think it’s time we have someone who will engage, will listen, will fight for what is right and who will work to solve problems not just identify them.”
As president and co-managing shareholder of Nyhan, Bambrick, Kinzie & Lowry, PC Attorney, Lowry has built a reputation as an independent voice, working hard to find reasonable solutions to problems facing Illinois, the City of Chicago and Cook County. Since being admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1988, he has built a significant record of leadership and achievement across a wide range of issues, including health care, education, economic development and criminal justice.
“There are both promise and problems that are best illustrated by looking at geographic areas the 3rd District encompasses,” Lowry told the Crusader. “It includes the Gold Coast, Downtown Chicago and Woodlawn, Kenwood, Chatham, Bronzeville and parts of West Englewood. This district is literally the tale of two Chicagos, one that is well-resourced, brimming with revenue and opportunity and the other where I’ve witnessed people treated like outsiders—separate, unequal and disposable.
“That’s why I’m running for the County Board,” the Kenwood resident added. “I believe I have the leadership, the experience and the discipline to find progressive revenue, secure jobs and protect and expand County services. I also want to continue to reduce the jail population by increasing programs for juvenile offenders and for adults re-entering their communities.“
A Chicago native, Bill and his sister Kim were raised by his parents in the South Side neighborhood of Marynook. He attended St. Frances De Sales High School, where he starred as a point guard on the basketball team before graduating with honors from Francis W. Parker in 1981. After enrolling in Lake Forest College, the budding leader majored in history and political science and received his undergraduate degree in 1984. He received a juris doctorate degree from Loyola University School of Law in 1987.
The legal scholar and community activist holds memberships in the Chicago Bar Association, Cook County Bar Association, and the Workers Compensation Lawyers Association. In 2014 he was appointed by the governor to the Illinois Capital Development Board where he now serves as vice-chairman. He has been a member of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board (2012 – 2015). Three years ago he was appointed by the governor to the Illinois Capital Development Board where he now serves as vice-chairman. He has also served as a member of the Illinois Work- ers’ Compensation Advisory Board (2012 – 2015).
Lowry says the public is more focused on how the County board works in the wake of the controversial sweetened beverage tax that was recently rescinded. “I was not in favor of the tax at all,” Lowry said. “People don’t like regressive taxes and they don’t like being misled. The sugar tax, though it had its health benefits, was about revenue and ensuring people could hold on to their jobs and the County could continue to provide services. That tax was poorly messaged, but democracy has spoken and its gone. Now we have to work to find revenue.”
A champion of social justice, children’s rights, access to health care and volunteerism, Bill serves on the board of directors of 14 organizations including, the Chicago Children’s Museum, Bright Star Community Outreach, the University of Chicago Police Department Community Advisory Board, Chicago Family Directors, Legal Prep Charter Academy, Chicago Family Connections, the Ancona Montessori School and, Lake Forest College. He is a trustee of Loyola University School of Law and serves on the committees of such institutions as the Dusable Museum of African-American History, Shriver Center on National Poverty Law, and the Get In Chicago Advisory Network, among others.
Impacted by the senseless shooting of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendelton, who was killed just steps from Bill’s door, he organized his neighbors, colleagues and associates and created The It’s Time Organization (TITO) to combat youth conflict and violence with after-school programs, summer jobs, internships and mentors. The successful not-for-profit has provided opportunities to hundreds of youth in the 3rd, 4th and 5th wards of Chicago.
“Hadiya was a child of promise,” Lowry said. “Her death caused a ripple affect among those of us who had been shielded from violence most of our lives. I remember my son, Bill Jr., telling my wife Cheryl and I to ‘do something.’ So we did. We prayed and then TITO was born. We’ve worked hard to ensure young people have opportunities, options and alternatives to conflict and violence.”
Bill has already amassed early endorsers including County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Congresswoman Robin Kelly (2nd), State Senator Kwame Raoul, State Rep. Christian Mitchell, 20th Ward Committeeman Kevin Bailey; Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers, several Chicago City Council members including Sophia King (4th), Leslie Hairston (5th), Michelle Harris (8th) and Brendan Reilly (42nd); and a host of other elected officials, ministers, community leaders, activists and business leaders.
None of his competitors has the wealth of experience and resources Lowry has received over the years.
“I will work to ensure people have access to high quality health and dental care; that we have revenue to support County services and protect jobs; and, that we continue to find ways to reduce the juvenile and adult jail populations by creating programs that reduce recidivism and re-integrate people back into society,” he said. “I believe in hard work. I believe we can get it done.”