Cook County Commissioner Richard R. Boykin, 1st District, began his career in public service as a Lyndon B. Johnson Intern for U.S. Representative Bobby Rush. He went on to serve as a Congressional Black Caucus Fellow for former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, the first African American woman elected to the United States Senate. 


Commissioner Boykin went on to make his mark as Legislative Director and then Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Danny K. Davis. He served as Congressman Davis’ Chief of Staff for nine years, where he was responsible for a staff of twenty-two and a $1.4 million annual budget. He was instrumental in the Congressman’s welfare-to-work, health care, energy and utility, and appropriations accomplishments.


Born in Jackson, Mississippi and raised in the Englewood community in Chicago, Commissioner Boykin spent a part of his childhood on public assistance. He attended Chicago Vocational High School and accepted an athletic scholarship to Central State University (CSU) in Ohio. While at CSU, Commissioner Boykin majored in Political Science, and consistently made the National Dean’s List, going on to attain the President’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. He graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1990. In 2015, Central State University inducted Commissioner Boykin into its Achievement Hall of Fame. 


Following graduation, Commissioner Boykin returned to Chicago to teach in the Chicago Public Schools for a year. In 1991, he began his legal education at the University of Dayton, School of Law. In 1992 he received the prestigious Benjamin H. Logan NAACP Scholarship in recognition of his excellence in legal education. During law school, he worked for the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office and served as a Law Clerk for Judge John W. Kessler.


Commissioner Boykin continues to practice law in the Chicago and Washington D.C. offices of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, where he is a partner. In November of 2014 he was elected Cook County Commissioner for the 1st District, and sworn in on December 1, 2014. His agenda on the County Board of Commissioners prioritizes the expansion of mental health services, criminal justice reform, jobs and economic development. 


Commissioner Boykin has been a champion for human rights. He demanded a Department of Justice investigation into allegations of Human and Civil Rights violations at the Homan Square Police site. Commissioner Boykin led the initiation to place referendum question regarding expanded funding for mental health treatment on the November 2014 ballot. The referendum while was county-wide all passed with over 1.4 million votes. 


In 2015, Commissioner Boykin was sponsor of a "no choke" ordinance that bans Cook County Law Enforcement from using chokeholds on suspects.