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Alvarez wins Cook Co. state's attorney race

November 4, 2008 10:24:54 PM PST
Dick Devine is retiring after 12 years as Cook County state's attorney. Anita Alvarez, deputy Cook County state's attorney won with 69 percent of the vote over Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica.

Alvarez said this was a difficult journey and proved anything was possible.

This is an historic moment for Anita Alvarez, as the first Latina and the first career prosecutor to hold the job. Alvarez has a reputation as a tough prosecutor, a tough woman and hard worker.

"It feels wonderful. I just felt and dispelled a myth a prosecutor had to be a male and that's not true," Alvarez said. "The women outnumber the men in the office anyway. It shows how far women have gone in a profession and that we are here to stay." Alvarez grew up in Pilsen, where her father was a waiter and mother was a seamstress. Her father died when she was 12 years old and her mother worked to put her through Catholic school. She became a prosecutor 22 years ago and moved through the ranks and was able to become third-in-command in the state's attorney's office.

Peraica conceded just before 10 p.m. He said he felt very proud about the race he ran and was a little disappointed voters chose to continue to go the direction that he feels has not been a good one in Cook County.

Peraica also said that he is not giving up. We've not heard the last of him. Peraica has an 8 a.m. Cook County board meeting Wednesday morning.

Peraica tried to fight this race by saying that Alvarez had been in the state's attorney's office for so long and had not done enough to toughen up the office and clean up corruption in our county, but apparently that's not what the voters wanted to hear and they decided to go the other direction. He had not gotten any endorsements from any of the major papers in town. In fact, they had some pretty good things to say about him but they did say he did not have enough experience as far as prosecuting criminals to have this office.

Peraica last ran against Todd Stroger for the Cook County board president's office in 2006. And when he did not win, he took a group of people and marched them to the county clerk's office in protest.


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