Female Leaders Come Together for Third Annual 16th District Women’s Power Brunch

Female Leaders Come Together for Third Annual 16th District Women’s Power Brunch
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Female Leaders Come Together for Third Annual 16th District Women’s Power Brunch (Cook County, IL) — On Friday, March 15th, Cook County Commissioner Frank J. Aguilar, 16th District Commissioner on Women’s Issues Claudia Ayala, Leyden Township Supervisor Rocco Biscaglio, and Franklin Park Mayor Barrett Pedersen hosted the Third Annual 16th District Women’s Power Brunch to celebrate women leaders throughout Cook County and the 16th District. The event, located at Pescatore Restaurant in Franklin Park, brought over 100 individuals to honor and celebrate Mrs. Fiorito and the other women elected officials and leaders of the 16th District.

“It was my pleasure to select Mrs. Fiorito as the 16th District’s Unsung Heroine Award winner,” said Cook County Commissioner Frank J. Aguilar. “I have known Debra to be a focused and proactive community leader, someone who sees her goals and initiatives through to the end. Her priority is her community, and I know she will continue to do great things for the 16th District. Thank you to everyone who joined us today to celebrate Debra and all the other amazing women of our district.”

In attendance were Honored Guests Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle and State Representative Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez, State Representative Norma Hernandez, the 16th District Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Award winner Debra Fiorito, and local women elected officials and community leaders throughout the municipalities of the 16th District.

Also in attendance was Mrs. Fiorito’s family, who with the other women electeds, were credited by Mrs. Fiorito as the reason she became involved in politics and community service.

“I am both humbled and honored to receive this award,” Mrs. Fiorito said. “Thank you to everyone who thought of me.”

This ceremony featured a Power Panel of women leaders who discussed their work, goals, and policies they advocate for with state, county, and municipal leadership. On the panel was the 2024 Unsung Heroine Award Winner Debra Fiorito, State Representative Norma Hernandez, and Franklin Park Director of Health and Human Resources Lisa Anthony. After the panel, Franklin Park Village Clerk April Arellano delivered closing remarks.

During the ceremony, Mrs. Fiorito received two resolutions. The first was sponsored by Commissioner Aguilar and was unanimously adopted during the March Board of Commissioners meeting. The second was sponsored by Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia at the United States Congress, and was presented to Mrs. Fiorito by Congressman Garcia’s staff.

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“In this role, I have learned to identify what makes us different, and more importantly what makes us come together to strengthen communities and each other,” said 16th District Commissioner on Women’s Issues Claudia Ayala. “It was an honor to celebrate Mrs. Fiorito alongside Cook County Commissioner Aguilar, Leyden Supervisor Biscaglio, Franklin Park Mayor Pedersen, and the women of Leyden Township and Franklin Park.”

Given to one woman in each of Cook County’s 17 Districts, plus one countywide winner, the Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Award seeks to honor outstanding women throughout Cook County who have made positive contributions in their communities. Any woman, as long as they are not an elected official, can be nominated. This award is designed to recover and tell the story of the powerful impact women have had throughout history on the development of our social, cultural, economic, and political institutions.

“Congratulations to Debra Fiorito on being selected for the Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroine Award for the 16th District,” said Mayor Barrett Pedersen. “Debra has proudly served the communities of Leyden Township as a volunteer and as a public servant. Mrs. Fiorito has inspired the next generation of women in Leyden Township to consider careers in public service. I look forward to continuing to work with Debra on behalf of the communities in Leyden Township.”

The Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues was created by resolution of the Cook County Board of Commissioners in October of 1995. The Commission advises the President and members of the Cook County Board of Commissioners on issues of concern to women and girls. It develops policy and program recommendations and collaborates with a wide range of governmental and private sector organizations on projects addressing a variety of issues affecting the status of women and girls, including domestic violence, child care, economic equity, and health. The Commission works to elevate the status of women and girls of Cook County, improve the delivery of services to women and their families, and eliminate inequalities in laws, practices and conditions that impact Cook County women and girls.

“Debra Fiorito is a lifelong public servant and community leader,” said Leyden Township Supervisor Rocco Biscaglio.  “Her involvement in the community is decades-long, beginning when she organized local moms from the neighborhood to revitalize an area in Mannheim Road by successfully advocating for the removal of an adult entertainment establishment. Through the collective power of women and community organizing, Debra has contributed so much to so many.”

Female Leaders Come Together for Third Annual 16th District Women’s Power Brunch


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