Elected November 6, 2012, Commissioner Kari K. Steele is currently serving her first six-year term at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago(MWRD).
Prior to being chosen by Cook County voters, Commissioner Steele has more than 11 years experience as a chemist, working at both the Jardine Water Purification Plant (as a water chemist) and the MWRD (as a water sampler and lab technician). Her prior work history makes her uniquely qualified as the only chemist serving on the (current) eight members MWRD Board of the Commissioners.
Her career experiences provide her with essential insight and knowledge to fulfill the requirements of her role at MWRD to review, analyze and provide input on operational proposals, construction development, wastewater analysis, water quality, staff and managerial provisions, employee benefits, environmental concerns of the community and more. Commissioner Steele is passionate about her role as MWRD Commissioner and her ability to continue a positive path forward for the improvement of stormwater management in Cook County. To ensure that her knowledge is maximized and beneficial to MWRD and the residents of Cook County, she currently serves as the Chairman for the Budget and Employment Committee, Information Technology Committee, Monitoring and Research Committee, and Chairman of the MWRD Employee Credit Union Board. In addition, she serves as the Vice Chairman for Stormwater Management and the Finance and Real Estate Development Committee.
Her work extends to various external communities as an active environmentalist, community leader and member of the Illinois Women’s Institute of Leadership; member of the 8th Ward Women’s Auxiliary Council; member of the Sierra Club; member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.; member of the 27th Ward Regular Democratic Organization; member of Southside Democracy for America (2016); and a member of West Side Black Elected Officials (2017). Commissioner Steele was a 2014 Chicago Defender Woman of Excellence Honoree; 2014 Edgar Fellow; 2016 Graduate of the Metropolitan Leadership Institute and a recipient of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Freshwater Lab water award (2017). She is a previous member of the Young Democrats of America; past Chairman of the 6th Ward Young Democrats; past Chairman and Treasurer of the Young Democrats of Cook County; and the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. Commissioner Steele has a Pre-med degree in Chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana. She is married to a loving and supportive husband and the co-parent of two beautiful and talented children, ages 12 (male) and 18 (female). When not working, she enjoys time with family and friends, arts & crafts and traveling.