Good Tuesday morning, Illinois. A laptop meltdown has left me using my teenager’s computer for a few days — and I’m impressed that his workspace is more organized than mine. (New Year’s resolution!)
The House Democratic Women’s Caucus is holding a candidate forum on Wednesday for the speaker position. That statement sounds perfectly normal. But we all know this speaker’s race is anything but.
House Speaker Michael Madigan, the longest-serving statehouse speaker in the country, hasn’t RSVP’d, though sources close to him say he plans to attend. However, one of his top lieutenants, Rep. Kathy Willis, will be there along with Rep. Stephanie Kifowit and, possibly Rep. Ann Williams.
The forum is a lead-up to the Jan. 13 House vote on who will be the speaker of the next legislative session. State lawmakers will be in Springfield starting Jan. 8 to address some legislation, though they expect long caucus meetings to decide on the winner before heading to the House floor.
Willis and Williams started calling colleagues this week to gauge their support, and Kifowit has been in the hunt for months.
“The purpose of the forum is to allow any declared or exploratory candidate an opportunity to be heard,” wrote Rep. Deb Conroy in a letter to House lawmakers.
The women’s caucus forum comes on the heels of similar events held by the Black and Latino caucuses, which both endorsed Madigan.
Conroy says “there will not be an endorsement” after the women’s forum, which is designed to give caucus members a chance to hear candidates’ “vision for the future.”
Conroy previously told Playbook that the caucus wants to see a woman as speaker, so Madigan’s attendance may seem futile. Though since he still doesn’t have the 60 votes needed to win the speakership, it’s logical that he’d attend.
There’s also a sense he’s entering the lion’s den. Some of Madigan’s struggles in securing support go back to #MeToo allegations against his top aides. Madigan responded by cleaning house and hiring a strong female chief of staff. But some folks are still concerned that problems arose because Madigan had been in office too long.
Will that be part of the candidate discussion? Oh to be a fly on the Zoom!
JIM OBERWEIS claims his campaign has found “numerous irregularities” in the discovery recount of votes in the 14th Congressional District race where Democrat Rep. Lauren Underwood was declared the winner.
He’s filed a “notice of contest” with the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives calling for the election certification to be voided and a run-off election authorized for April 6.
Oberweis’ move comes a day after Underwood was sworn into her second term. She beat Oberweis by 5,374 votes, according to the state Board of Elections.
In a statement Oberweis said, “I do not believe we found any rampant fraud,” but he says some election jurisdictions didn’t follow the law.
Oberweis claims 4,903 voters cast their ballots in the 14th District even though they had moved out of the district, that election judges in Kane County failed to initial ballots, and that more ballots were cast in DuPage County than there are voters.
“We think there’s enough evidence for a re-do,” Travis Akin, spokesman for Oberweis, told Playbook.
Underwood spokeswoman Andra Belknap pushed back in her statement: “Regardless of Mr. Oberweis’ legal bluster, the results of this election will not change. Congresswoman Underwood was sworn into the 117th Congress on Jan. 3 and remains focused on the work the people of the 14th District elected her to do.”
Cook County Republican judicial candidate files lawsuits to overturn his Nov. 3 election loss, by Pioneer Press’ Jennifer Johnson.
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At Norwegian American Hospital at 9:30 a.m. for an update on Covid-19 vaccinations in Chicago.
No official public events.
At Lake Street Church at 8:30 a.m. to announce $50,000 in private fundraising for a meal delivery pilot program to benefit the homeless.
The Illinois Department of Public Health today reported 79 additional deaths and 5,059 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 16,834 fatalities and 984,880 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Dec. 28 through Jan. 3 is 8.6 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 9.9 percent.
— Confusion ensues as Cook County changes mind on Covid-19 vaccination website: “A survey on the website initially appeared to be open to all Cook County residents, and many filled it out over the weekend and on Monday, thinking it might help them understand when it would be their turn to receive vaccines. But county health department spokesman Don Bolger told the Tribune early Monday afternoon that the survey was intended only for some health care workers,” by Tribune’s Lisa Schencker.
— Most workers at state’s veterans’ homes in no hurry to get coronavirus vaccine: “Though COVID-19 vaccines have been made available to all employees at Illinois veterans’ homes, only 40% of staff members have so far opted to receive their first dose of the inoculation against the deadly virus. The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs announced last Thursday that vaccines have been made available to all residents and employees at the department’s facilities,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— U. of I. saliva test moves closer to FDA approval, but not fast enough to meet the demand: “The University of Illinois has completed a critical step toward obtaining federal approval for its saliva-based Covid-19 test, but some lawmakers worry it’s taking too long to help other state colleges, school districts and companies struggling to operate amid the pandemic,” by Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney.
— Outreach efforts in Springfield taking shape to counter vaccine hesitancy among Black community: “Dr. Wendi Wills El-Amin, a family physician and associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, said the school plans to partner with the local NAACP chapter and some churches to do education and outreach about the Covid vaccine,” reports NPR Illinois’ Mary Hansen.
— State Covid hospitalizations continue to drop, reports Capitol News’ Sarah Mansur.
— Teachers defy district, refuse to teach inside schools amid safety concerns: “Preschool and special education cluster teachers and staff were expected to report to their schools Monday — so some set up laptops and taught outside instead,” by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa, Cindy Hernandez and Manny Ramos.
… CPS mum on consequences for teachers who decline to give lessons in person, by Tribune’s Hannah Leone, Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas and Diana Wallace.
… And more aldermen have signed on to a letter to Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressing concern about the safety for reopening in-person classes.
— Chicago teachers double as tech help for Hispanic families: “Spanish-speaking CPS families and their teachers told Borderless Magazine that they have not received enough support with technology during the pandemic. Immigrant Hispanic parents and grandparents expressed their frustrations with navigating computers not in Spanish and relying on older children and teachers for tech support,” reports Amaris E. Rodriguez for Borderless Magazine.
— Seven things to know as Chicago reopens schools: “The reopening has amped up tensions between the union and district leaders, and how the first weeks unfold could set the stage for the district’s broader plans to bring back students in kindergarten to eighth grade in February. Here’s what we know so far,” reports Chalkbeat Chicago’s Yana Kunichoff.
— Speed camera crackdown to start slowly — with 44-day grace period: “Motorists caught driving 6 mph to 10 mph over the posted speed limit will begin getting warning notices on Jan. 15. The grace period will continue until March 1, when they’ll start receiving $35 tickets,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Pastor offers help after West Side woman is charged with leaving 7 children alone in apartment: “The Rev. Donovan Price of Street Pastors said Jessie Hunt’s story has touched many people because many are in need right now,” by CBS/2.
— ANDY MANAR to resign state Senate seat to become special adviser to governor: “The announcement marked the second high-profile resignation from the state Senate in one week’s time, as Minority Leader Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, announced his immediate resignation on Dec. 31,” reports NPR Illinois’ Sean Crawford, Hannah Meisel and Capitol News.
— Read their lips: Dems say no income tax hike in lame-duck session: “Aides to Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President Don Harmon on Monday ruled out a state income tax increase during the upcoming, lame-duck legislative session — despite GOP warnings to the contrary. Lawmakers are set to return to Springfield Friday, and the top House Republican, Jim Durkin, contended a tax hike very well could be on the agenda as part of the embattled speaker’s desperate bid to retain power,” by WBEZ’s Dave McKinney and Tony Arnold.
— Here are 9 — maybe 10 (or 11) — Illinois Republicans mulling a run for governor: “No fewer than nine people are mulling a gubernatorial campaign for the Republican nomination. And that doesn’t include the radio talk show host who recently left his morning show or the billionaire who largely funded the effort to defeat the graduated income tax,” by WBEZ’s Tony Arnold.
— Attorney: Congressional seat data won’t be ready in January: “John Coghlan, a deputy assistant Attorney General, said during a court hearing that the U.S. Census Bureau had found new irregularities in the head count data that determines congressional seat allocations and the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal spending each year,” by the AP’s Mike Schneider.
Cook County Medical Examiner reports record number of deaths in 2020: “The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office handled a record 16,049 death cases in 2020, and the coronavirus accounted for just more than half of those deaths — 8,192 — according to statistics released Friday. Typically, the medical examiner’s office handles approximately 6,200 deaths each year,” reports WTTW’s Kristen Thometz.
Lower Metra fares, improved Pace service for south suburban Cook County under new program: “Fair Transit South Cook, a three-year pilot program, cuts fares in half on the Metra Electric and Rock Island Lines. It also increases the hours and frequency of Pace’s Halsted 352 route,” by Sun-Times’ Manny Ramos.
— Printer for top Dems, including Madigan, is hit with federal tax charge: “A Worth Township trustee who’s printed political mailers for many top Democrats — including some under federal investigation — was hit with a federal tax charge Monday. Richard Lewandowski, of Palos Heights, was charged in a criminal information with one misdemeanor count of failing to file an income tax return in 2018. The charge carries up to a year in prison,” by Tribune’s Jason Meisner and Ray Long.
— Kyle Rittenhouse is expected to plead not guilty to Kenosha killings: “Attorneys for Kyle Rittenhouse have argued the August 25 shootings, which wounded a third protester, were acts of self-defense by a patriot who was trying to protect the city as civil unrest following Blake’s shooting left some downtown businesses in ashes,” reports WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell.
— National Guard mobilized as Kenosha authorities brace for decision on charges in Jacob Blake police shooting: “On Monday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers mobilized 500 National Guard members to help Kenosha officials. Workers installed temporary fencing around government buildings downtown in the city just over the Wisconsin border, according to local news outlets,” by Tribune’s Dan Hinkel.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: ANEL RUIZ has joined Culloton + Bauer Luce public affairs and crisis management firm as senior VP. She most recently served as press secretary to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “Anel’s hands-on experience in policymaking and her sense of how fast an issue can take shape in today’s digital-first environment makes for a uniquely skilled counselor,” said Natalie Bauer Luce, CBL partner and executive VP in a statement. Before her stint on the 5th Floor, Ruiz served as public affairs director for the Chicago Department of Public Health. That experience will dovetail with CBL’s health-care focused clientele during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Ruiz has worked for Mayor Lori Lightfoot since she was first elected and was by the mayor’s side throughout the pandemic and the launch of Invest South West, which is bringing programs to the South and West sides. In addition to her public service, Ruiz honed her operations and fundraising skills in the nonprofit sector at Free Spirit Media and the National Museum of Mexican Art. She earned a political science degree from Augustana College and was a 2014 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow and a 2016 Civic Leadership Academy Fellow.
— Dana Popish Severinghaus to serve as Department of Insurance director: “Gov. JB Pritzker has appointed Dana Popish Severinghaus as the Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance. Popish Severinghaus has legal, policy, government relations, and insurance industry-related experience. Popish Severinghaus was a former legislative and regulatory counsel at Allstate Insurance Company,” by WAND-TV.
— Chicago campaign workers have Georgia on their minds — and their GPS: “Chicago Democrats are engaged directly in the fight — and excited about what they’ve witnessed. From old-fashioned door-knocking to sophisticated texting efforts to standing on street corners with signs, campaign workers have blanketed Georgia for two months. ‘It’s just massive amounts of people,’ Clem Balanoff said of the Democratic push,” by Sun-Times’ Mark Brown.
— Biden transition hoping for victory but bracing for defeat in Georgia: “The president-elect’s team won’t change their legislative priorities. But the runoff results could force them to scale back significantly,” report POLITICO’s Tyler Pager and Megan Cassella.
— Senate in the balance: How Georgia’s runoffs break down: “Democrats are well-positioned, according to early voting data and sparse polling, but Republicans could win with strong Election Day turnout,” by POLITICO’s Steven Shepard.
Since 1818, Illinois sent only 20 women to Congress; a record 7 are serving now: “Freshman Rep. Marie Newman said when it comes to women in Congress, ‘I think we have opened a door that never will be closed again,’” by Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.
— Trump’s Electoral College scheme divides 2024 GOP successors, by POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt
— MAGA activists plot revenge on Republican ‘traitors,’ by POLITICO’s Tina Nguyen
— ‘NEVER FORGET’: Trump threatens Cotton over Electoral College certification, by POLITICO’s Nick Niedzwiadek
MONDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to former City Treasurer Kurt Summers for correctly answering that Chicago’s Black community rejected Mayor Michael Bilandic in his re-election bid in 1979 after his administration deliberately closed CTA stops in largely Black neighborhoods during that year’s famous January blizzard.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Richard Nixon thought Illinois robbed him of winning the 1960 presidential election, but he decided not to contest the results. Why? Email your answer to [email protected].
Rep. Rodney Davis, Obama Foundation CEO David Simas, former state Rep. Chad Hayes, and University of Chicago MA candidate Nash Jenkins.
via Illinois Playbook https://ift.tt/2NknKhq
January 5, 2021 at 07:28AM