Good Thursday morning, Illinois. "This was not just a transfer of power, it was a profound change of attitude," David Axelrod said on CNN last night after President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took their oaths of office, Bruce Springsteen crooned and a young poet slayed the day.
House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch is building out a broader leadership team that brings on new players while keeping veteran Majority Leader Greg Harris and others experienced in steering the ship.
Reps. Jehan Gordon-Booth and Mary Flowers hold deputy majority leader positions. Assistant majority leaders are state Reps. Jaime Andrade Jr., Robyn Gabel, Elizabeth Hernandez, Jay Hoffman, Natalie Manley, Marcus Evans Jr. and Delia Ramirez. And state Rep. Carol Ammons becomes Democratic conference chair. Flowers, Andrade, Gabel, Evans, Ramirez and Ammons are all new to leadership.
“I needed a group of worker bees who could roll up their sleeves and be ready to get to work,” Welch told Playbook ahead of announcing the leadership team.
Four representatives who held leadership positions under former Speaker Michael Madigan are out: Kelly Burke, who is making a run for mayor of Evergreen Park; William Davis and Fred Crespo, who weren’t elected out of the Black and Latino caucuses to serve in leadership, and Kathleen Willis, who ran unsuccessfully against Madigan for speaker before he dropped out of the race. Welch wouldn’t say why Willis is out.
Hoffman remains on the team. The downstate lawmaker didn’t challenge Madigan, but he did run against Welch. The two met privately in the waning hours of last week’s legislative session before Welch emerged the victor.
Welch has also expanded his leadership team to include caucus whips, positions that weren’t part of Madigan’s roster. Welch says the positions will be good training ground to move up into higher leadership positions. Counting votes is always a valuable skill.
Caucus whips are state Reps. Will Guzzardi (Progressive Caucus), Kam Buckner (Black Caucus), Theresa Mah (Asian American Caucus), Larry Walsh Jr. (Downstate Caucus), Deb Conroy (Women’s Caucus), and Aaron Ortiz (Latinx Caucus).
In a statement to Playbook, Gordon-Booth, of Peoria, praised Welch for pulling together a leadership team “that recognizes that the diversity of our caucus is our strength.”
With Welch’s leadership team in place, he says discussions can move forward on rules of the House and legislation needing to be addressed. That all starts Friday when the House Democratic Caucus meets.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Former Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias has ramped up fundraising in his 2022 campaign for Illinois Secretary of State, a position long held by Jesse White, who’s retiring after this term.
Giannoulias has secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support for the open seat, including $400,000 raised in a single week, according to filings with the state Board of Elections.
Big-name donors include clean-energy innovator Michael Polsky, Black Opal CEO Desiree Rogers, and top Democratic Party contributors Michael Sacks and Bob Clifford, who each donated $6,000 (their wives each donated $6,000, too). Starting in January, the limits for individual contributions rose from $5,800 to $6,000 and corporate donors can now donate $12,000, up from $11,600.
Giannoulias’ team says he also has the support of Ariel Investments Co-CEO John Rogers Jr., former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and Vistria Group Co-CEO Marty Nesbitt, as well as organized labor. Rogers, Duncan and Nesbitt got to know Giannoulias on the campaign trail for former President Barack Obama’s first presidential run when they were known to play pick-up basketball games.
The former state treasurer, a position he held 10 years ago, filed paperwork for his candidacy on Jan. 11 and was putting out feelers weeks before that. He most recently conducted six virtual town halls focused on communities around the state. He ran a statewide race for U.S. Senate against Republican Mark Kirk.
Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]
Sitting down for an interview with your Playbook host for a POLITICO Live event, The Fifty: America’s Mayors. The livestream starts at 9 a.m. and our Lightfoot segment starts at 9:15 a.m. Be there!
At the Daley Center at noon to give an update on Covid-19.
Celebrating the newly created Immigration Unit of the Office of the Cook County Public Defender at 9 a.m.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday reported 107 new deaths and 4,822 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 18,398 fatalities and 1,081,354 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Jan. 13 through 19 is 5.5 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 7.7 percent.
— States’ new vaccine worry: Not enough doses: “More states are running low on the Covid-19 vaccine just as they’re getting administering shots faster and expanding eligibility,” by POLITICO’s Rachel Roubein and Brianna Ehley.
— Elderly anxious for Covid vaccine face a confusing wait: “While public health officials say seniors can start getting vaccinated now, it could take some time before that ramps up,” writes WBEZ’s Kristen Schorsch.
— Limited indoor dining on track to resume in Will and Kankakee counties: “The two-county region is meeting the requirements to allow indoor dining at 25 percent capacity or 25 people, whichever is less, beginning Thursday, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Indoor seating would be limited to groups of four under the state’s rules,” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella.
— Watch out for scammers: “As the second round of pandemic relief checks goes out to millions of Americans, the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation division warned Illinois taxpayers Tuesday that it was looking into hundreds of COVID-19-related scams across the country and abroad,” by Tribune’s Leslie Bonilla.
— Biden seeks White House normalcy after tumultuous 4 years: “The aftershocks of Trump’s presidency, however, are likely to continue to disrupt Biden’s administration for months to come,” by POLITICO’s Tyler Pager.
— Biden turns the page on Trump in a surprisingly effective inaugural address: “No one expects soaring oratorical peaks from President Joe Biden. That’s not his natural style. Yet his inaugural address was a powerful statement because it showed him grappling forthrightly — in the plainspoken language that reflects his authentic voice — with one of the most vexing questions of human relations: How does one restore respect when there are very good reasons to feel contempt?” by POLITICO’s John F. Harris.
— Biden, in post-inauguration celebration, calls on Americans to rise to moment of crisis: “The challenges in front of us require the most elusive things in a democracy: unity,” the president said from the Lincoln Memorial,” by POLITICO’s Matthew Choi.
— Illinois’ top poet on Amanda Gorman: ‘Breathtakingly stunning’ — ‘I’d be proud to have a granddaughter like her’: “The youngest poet to speak at an inauguration, Gorman delivered her poem “The Hill We Climb,” which touched on the themes of unity and healing Biden and others alluded to in their own speeches during the inauguration,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— Inauguration fashion: Purple, pearls, American designers: “Joe Biden and Kamala Harris showcased American designers at their inauguration Wednesday, and Harris gave a nod to women’s suffrage, Shirley Chisholm and her beloved sorority in pearls and purple. Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush also donned hues of purple. Harris has cited Chisholm, a Democrat from New York, as an inspiration for her career. Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress and the first Black major-party candidate to run for U.S. president,” by the AP.
— Former presidents send Biden bipartisan message of support, by POLITICO’s Matthew Choi
— KIMBERLY LIGHTFORD, the Illinois Senate majority leader, says she has no plans to leave her Senate seat. The buzz among Senate Democrats earlier this week was that Lightford might make an exit now that she has more than 20 years of service under her belt. Not so, she told Playbook.
“While we had a successful and historic lame duck session, a lot of work remains to be done to keep lifting up and supporting marginalized communities across our state. I plan to stick around and make sure it gets done,” Lightford said through a spokeswoman.
The Maywood Democrat said she wants to ensure that recently passed Black Agenda reform measures get the governor’s signature. And she plans to help steer trailer bills to some of that legislation. Lightford also plans to address new legislation pertaining to mental health wellness, post-traumatic stress syndrome, teen suicide and giving more support to grandparents raising their grandchildren.
— KINZINGER draws GOP criticism: The Winnebago County Republican Party has received a request to censure Congressman Adam Kinzinger for voting to impeach former President Donald Trump. The proposed censure statement was written by attorney Austin Davies and published in the conservative Illinois Review. The Winnebago County Republican Executive Committee expects to discuss the proposal at its Feb. 9 meeting, where it will decide whether it should be presented to the larger body of more than 100 members — or edited down after Davies’ claims are fact-checked. At least 20 of 26 members of the executive committee would have to approve censure before it could be sent to the larger body of more than 100 members for their approval. “We’ll consider the proposal that was made and let the facts drive the choice. We don’t want to be reactionary,” Winnebago GOP Vice Chairman John Guevara told Playbook.
— Education bill on Pritzker’s desk would revamp social studies classes: “Social studies classes in Illinois public schools are poised to get a major overhaul, with more emphasis on Black history and the contributions of other underrepresented groups to American culture. In addition, within the next few years, all school districts in the state could be required to offer computer science courses and more instruction in computer literacy,” by Capitol News’ Peter Hancock.
— 6 key reforms in the massive criminal justice bill passed last week: Along with abolishing cash bail, there are five other changes that could “fundamentally alter the state’s courts, prisons and more,” reports WBEZ’s Patrick Smith.
— Step closer to being ‘a true sanctuary city’: “Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to close loopholes in the city’s Welcoming City Ordinance that allow police to cooperate in some cases with federal immigration agents moved one step closer to completion on Tuesday as aldermen on the City Council’s new committee on immigrant rights advanced the mayor’s proposal. The full City Council still needs to approve the measure,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt.
— Teachers to vote whether to reject in-person school and move toward a potential strike: “The union agreed Wednesday to ask members to vote to collectively refuse to report to schools as CPS gears up for more in-person learning,” by WBEZ’s Sarah Karp.
— Inspector general clarifies investigation of botched police raid of social worker’s home: “Inspector General Joe Ferguson said his investigation, one of three into the raid of Anjanette Young’s home, may look at ‘actions conducted by, through or on behalf of CPD, COPA, the Law Department, and the Mayor’s Office,’” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Chicago immigrants say they’re ready to mobilize to push Biden’s proposed immigration bill: “Reports that the bill would provide an eight-year path to citizenship to millions without legal status raised the hopes of immigrants who had lived the last four years trying to survive a Donald Trump presidency centered on anti-immigrant rhetoric. In Chicago, although there’s some optimism about the legislation’s prospects, community leaders and immigration advocates are urging people to remain skeptical and continue mobilizing to ensure that Biden’s promise of sweeping immigration change is kept,” by Tribune’s Laura Rodriguez Presa.
— Chicago Park District to resume in-person programming: “Sports, cultural and nature programs will resume in person starting Monday, the park district said in a statement,” by Sun-Times’ Sam Kelly.
— 2 Northwest Side churches to form one parish in latest archdiocese consolidation: “Effective July 1, the Our Lady of Grace parish and school will merge with St. Sylvester to form a new parish with two worship sites, the archdiocese said,” by Sun-Times’ Madeline Kenney.
— Judge says Smollett case to focus on ‘what happened on the street’ night of alleged hate crime hoax: “The former “Empire” actor’s defense team wants former CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson to testify. But the judge says it’s unlikely the former top cop will take the stand,” by Sun-Times’ Matthew Hendrickson.
— Tribune Publishing sued for $4.8M in missed rent payments as it exits Prudential Plaza: “The Chicago-based newspaper chain hasn’t paid rent since March, and the company’s letter of credit ran out of funds earlier this month, the suit alleges. The letter of credit was created when the lease was signed in October 2017, according to the complaint,” by Tribune’s Ryan Ori.
— Prosecutors say family attorney threatened a mother to ‘be smart,’ have sex with him or lose custody of her kids: “A Chicago family law attorney threatened to ruin an employee’s career unless she slept with him. Another woman who was fighting to keep her children in a contested divorce said the lawyer wrote a report recommending her husband get custody — unless she slept with him. When the threats didn’t elicit the women’s consent, he sexually assaulted them both, Cook County prosecutors alleged in court Wednesday,” by Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas.
— INVESTIGATION: With no oversight, Illinois cities flout state law that encourages affordable housing: “The Illinois Housing Appeals board is meant to provide checks and balances in the creation of affordable housing. If affordable housing developers believe they are unfairly treated and rejected by a municipality, they can go to the appeals board to advocate for their project. The unpaid bipartisan board formed in 2009 but was never fully appointed by the governor until 2012. The board is supposed to include a developer, a zoning expert and an affordable housing advocate like Schechter,” by WBEZ’s Natalie Moore.
— Coal-fired power plant in southern Illinois a major obstacle to Biden’s push for carbon-free electricity by 2035: “The Prairie State Generating Station is among the top 10 industrial sources of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the United States, emitting as much as 2 million cars combined every year,” reports Tribune’s Michael Hawthorne.
— Asian carp gauntlet project ‘off to the races’ with Army Corps funding: “Efforts to stop invasive silver and bighead carp from reaching Lake Michigan by fortifying a chokepoint in the Chicago waterway system are accelerating thanks to new funding for project design and engineering in the latest U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget. The Army Corps included $3.8 million for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam gauntlet project in its fiscal year 2021 work plan, released Jan. 19,” by Michigan Live’s Garret Ellison.
Duckworth asks Biden to overhaul citizenship process for vets: “As Biden’s inauguration ceremony got underway, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., sent his office a letter pleading for him to take a look at the path to citizenship for service members, veterans and their dependents, the twists and turns of which have ended in deportation for some in recent years, though legislation meant to expedite the pathway to citizenship while serving is on the books,” by Military Times’ Meghann Myers.
— Trump’s ‘crony pardons’ flabbergast the political world, by POLITICO’s David Siders
— Democrats poised to rebuff McConnell’s filibuster demands, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett
— Democrats weigh their stimulus options: Go big or go fast, by POLITICO’s Heather Cayble, Sarah Ferris and Caitlin Emma
— On Day One, Biden targets Trump policies on climate, virus, by the AP’s Zeke Miller and Aamer Madhani
Congrats to NATASHA KORECKI, who joins POLITICO’s stellar new White House team. Staff note from Blake Hounshell and Carrie Budoff Brown
TODAY at 10 a.m: American Business Immigration Coalition hosts a virtual briefing on President Biden’s immigration bill with the bill’s Chief Senate Sponsor Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and former Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez.
WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: We stumped you! The late Congressman Timothy Sheehan took heat for saying the U.S. should annex Canada.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Of the Illinois governors who called Kankakee home, which ones weren’t born in Illinois? Email to [email protected].
Clarification: Wednesday’s Trivia winner was Michael George, who previously went by a different name.
Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, Durbin’s downstate political director Dan Lewis, SomerCor CEO Manny Flores, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago analyst Nahiomy Alvarez, Great Plains Laborers legislative director Mike Matejka, public affairs consultant James Prescott, and KJD Strategies senior associate Bailey Romans.
January 21, 2021 at 07:28AM