Meet Toneal Jackson
2-Year Term

Why are you running for commissioner?
I believe that the services the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District provide for Cook County are essential to its citizens, yet very few know about the MWRD, much less that a Board of Commissioners exist. Upon being elected, I want to educate our residents about what we do, so that ultimately, we can work together to generate ideas that the board can implement to benefit both the MWRD and community at large.

What qualifies you to be commissioner?
MWRD states on their website, “We believe environmental leadership is our responsibility, so we are looking for solutions that can change the world and keep it safe and secure for future generations” ( As a member of the Green Party, this aligns heavily with what we believe, namely our core values of personal and global responsibility; ecological wisdom; community-based economics; and future focus and sustainability. Simply put, my desire and that of the MWRD agree; if elected, I would be part of that solution they are seeking. I am an entrepreneur and organizer, so I’m experienced in establishing policies and procedures for the overall good of an organization. I have a master’s degree in business administration and am a business owner, so I know a thing or two as it pertains to budgets and other financial matters.

What can be done better?
According to U Chicago Magazine, “For many voters in Cook County, the race for MWRD commissioner is about as low-information as it gets.” It’s, as political columnist Russ Stewart once said, “The uninformed picking the unknown.” Very few know what the MWRD does, so they don’t know to care; they don’t understand WHY they should care. So many times, basements flood and people have no idea that’s an MWRD issue. They may wonder why they can’t swim in the Chicago River, not understanding that sewage is also something that the MWRD addresses. If elected, I plan to increase the awareness about who we are and what we do – explain in laymen’s terms why people SHOULD care. If they understood that MWRD is working to protect THEIR homes, businesses and neighborhoods from flood damage, that may encourage them to conserve more water. I educate and empower. I believe once the people are educated, they will become empowered to work together to make things better – not just for themselves but for generations to come.

Meet Mark Buettner
6-Year Term

Mark received a degree in Water Technology from New Mexico State University in 2008. He worked as an Illinois wastewater treatment works operator class 1 for 14 years in the water reclamation industry; nine of those years as an MWRD treatment plant operator.

Mark grew up in Mt. Prospect, but has been living happily for the last 10 years in Des Plaines, 2 blocks from the river. Mark wants to improve storm water management and reduce nutrient pollution in our waterways. He would like Illinoisans to be able to swim in our rivers, and he is determined to make sure our tax money is well spent.