TGIF, Illinois. When you wake up in the morning and Tammy Duckworth is trending.
Candidates are scurrying to apply for Rep. Kelly Cassidy’s 14th District state House seat on the North Side if/when it opens up. As we’ve mentioned here, Cassidy is the leading candidate to be appointed to the 7th District state Senate seat being vacated by Heather Steans. That process will be finalized in the next few days.
But lots of folks are staking out a claim for Cassidy’s seat before she’s made a move. Top of the list is Jen Walling, the executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council. She’s seen as an ally to Cassidy and lawmakers respect her 10 years leading the advocacy group.
Mary Difino is also talking to Democratic committee members in anticipation of the seat opening up. She’s a social worker and was an organizer on Ald. Maria Haden’s campaign.
Torrence Gardner, director of Economic & Community Development in Haden’s 49th Ward, is interested in running.
And so are Michael Harrington, who ran for alderman years ago in the 49th Ward, and Brady Chalmers, digital director at Cook County Democratic Party and policy forecaster at Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology.
The appointments for the Senate and House seats will be brief as all state senators and representatives will be on the 2022 ballot after the upcoming redistricting process occurs once Census information is revealed.
Political committees are also working on the appointments to replace former Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady and former Democratic Sen. Andy Manar, who also left their seats in recent weeks. But this political theater is really a vestige of a dated system, according to critics.
A group of Democratic activists is blasting the process for allowing elected state leaders to leave mid-term and have their political parties appoint replacements. “It’s a particular problem in the 48th and 49th Wards. 1977 was the last regular election for state Senate here without a machine-approved incumbent stacking the deck against grassroots candidates,” according to a statement this morning from Indivisible Illinois 9th Andersonville-Edgewater, a local chapter of the national group Indivisible.
SPEAKING OF THE CENSUS: New estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal what we’ve known for months: Illinois lost population for the seventh straight year. Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning has uncovered some other interesting trends about Illinois and the Chicago region, too:
Illinois’ total population has declined by almost 2 percent since the beginning of the 2010s, further cementing the idea the state will lose at least one congressional seat in the redistricting process. Over that time period, West Virginia was the only state to see a higher rate of population loss.
DuPage, Kane, Kendall, and Will counties are among only nine counties in Illinois that saw population growth since 2010. That means the vast majority of Illinois’ population losses have occurred outside of Cook County, the collar counties and Kendall County (which make up the CMAP region).
Top destinations for residents leaving Illinois include neighboring states (Indiana and Wisconsin) and high-population states (California, Florida and Texas).
The Chicago region’s growth rate is slower than other major metro areas. Compared to the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S., the Chicago region ranked 46th in growth rate since 2010.
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At the Thompson Center at noon to give an update on Covid-19.
No official public events.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Thursday reported 123 additional deaths and 4,979 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 18,520 fatalities and 1,086,333 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Jan. 14 through 20 is 5.4 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 7.6 percent.
— In Chicago, most inoculations will come through residents’ health care providers or their pharmacy: “[M]ost residents will receive Covid-19 inoculations through their health care provider or pharmacy, public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said Thursday. So far, vaccines largely have been limited to health care workers and people over 75. On Monday, the city will move into a new distribution phase, referred to as 1b, by opening up inoculations for residents age 65 or older and front-line essential workers, including teachers,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt.
— Chicago moves to next phase of vaccinations but supply falls far short of need: “On Monday, hundreds of thousands of older Chicagoans and essential workers will be eligible to receive shots,” by Sun-Times’ Brett Chase.
— ‘Nobody is telling you what to say’: Fauci regains the spotlight under Biden: “One day into the Biden presidency, the longtime infectious disease expert described it as ‘a refreshing experience,’” by POLITICO’s Sarah Owermohle.
— JOINING BIDEN’s TEAM: Two Chicago-area political veterans will join Biden’s Department of Education team: Sheila Nix, a longtime aide to the Bidens, will be chief of staff; and Claudia Chevez, who worked in Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration, becomes White House liaison. “Nix, an Oak Park resident who was a senior adviser in President Joe Biden’s campaign. When ex-President Barack Obama was in the White House, Nix was chief of staff for then second lady Jill Biden, the new first lady. Last summer, after Biden tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to be his running mate, Nix became a senior campaign adviser to Harris, at the time a senator from California,” reports Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.
— Senate clears Austin waiver, setting up confirmation vote to be Biden’s Pentagon chief: Austin, who retired in 2016, requires a waiver to the law that he be out of uniform for seven years before becoming Pentagon chief. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, a retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel, voted against the waiver. On the House side, Democratic Rep. Sean Casten and Republican Rep. Mary Miller also voted no.
— Republicans bludgeon Biden’s big stimulus plans: “The new president is not receiving the bipartisan embrace he’s long sought,” by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett.
— 17 things Biden did on his first day on the job: “#13: Halt construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall,” via POLITICO.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Some Chicago business and labor leaders are calling for John Catanzara, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago, to step down, citing his recent comments downplaying the insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol. Catanzara later apologized for the comments. A spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment. In their statement, the executives call Cantanzara “an obstacle” to police reform. “Instead of recognizing the threat and saluting those brave police officers who helped contain it, he sided with lawbreakers who caused the death of a police officer and the injury of several others. It is time for President Catanzara to step aside,” according to the statement issued by Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Jack Lavin, Civic Committee of the Commercial Club President Kelly Welsh, Illinois Restaurant Association President & CEO Sam Toia, National Association of Letter Carriers President Mack Julion, National Nurses United Midwest Director Marti Smith, and SEIU leaders Greg Kelley, Tom Balanoff, and Dian Palmer.
— BLUE-PLATE SPECIAL: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she’s hoping the federal government — with a nudge from the Biden administration — will allocate money to bars, restaurants and the hospitality industry the same way it did when it bailed out the airlines and banks in years past. “We’ve got to get them more resources,” she told me during a POLITICO Live discussion with America’s mayors.
— If Chicago teachers walk out, it would be an ‘illegal strike,’ district warns: “In a letter to teachers, Chicago Public Schools warned that refusing to report to school buildings next week would constitute an ‘illegal strike’ and insisted that an agreement with the teachers union is ‘within reach.’ Teachers have until midnight Saturday to vote on a union resolution that calls for those instructed to return to instead continue to teach remotely, despite requirements that thousands more report to school buildings as the city enters the second phase of its reopening plan,” reports Chalkbeat Chicago’s Cassie Walker Burke.
… Families who want schools open say they’re being drowned out by teachers union pushback, by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— CPD tackles surge in carjackings as victims fight through trauma: “Our primary concern, I want to make this clear, is for the victim,” Police Supt. David Brown said Thursday. “These consequences, whether you’re young or old, have to be significant in order to discourage this behavior.” Sun-Times’ Manny Ramos and David Struett report.
— South Side bar that hosted Trump rally shut down for violating Covid-19 restrictions; 12 others cited: “The Trump rally, held at Firewater Saloon Nov. 1, attracted a high-profile crowd, including Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara, former Republican Senate candidate Mark Curran and former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose 14-year prison sentence on federal corruption charges Trump commuted last year,” writes Tribune’s Josh Noel.
— Illinois’ oldest social service agency merges with Family Focus: “The two nonprofits are now one organization with a combined budget of $25 million and plans to seek a new headquarters,” reports Wendell Hutson.
— Airplane’s wheel plunges from sky, landing in Jefferson Park family’s yard: “Thank God it was a small plane, but it’s really surreal.” Tribune’s Rosemary Sobol reports.
— Cook County judge rejects attempt to block consumer-fraud case against ComEd: “In the wake of ComEd’s admissions in a Springfield bribery scandal, the lawyers in the Circuit Court suit alleged that the electric company “unjustly enriched itself by overcharging its 4 million customers in Illinois for years,” and they’re seeking to get money back for consumers,” by WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos.
— Gun used in Chicago-to-Evanston murder spree tied to past shootings in Chicago: “The gun that Jason Nightengale used in a rampage Jan. 9 that left 4 dead had been stolen from a legitimate owner, a source said, and probably on the street for a ‘long, long time,’” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.
— Judge orders Chicago Heights man detained over threat to Biden’s inauguration: “Louis Capriotti allegedly said if people ‘think that Joe Biden is going to put his hand on the Bible and walk into that f—ing White House on Jan. 20th, they’re sadly f—ing mistaken,’” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.
— ‘It’s beyond frustrating,’ top cop says after man out on bail for gun offense charged in fatal shooting: “Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown’s comments came Monday morning following a weekend in which 53 people were shot, 10 fatally. That included the early Saturday shooting in the Austin neighborhood in which the suspect was out of the Cook County Jail following a recent firearm arrest,” by WTTW’s Matt Masterson.
— Expressway shootings more than doubled in 2020, and victims and advocates are asking why tougher measures aren’t being taken: “I feel we’re being neglected.” Tribune’s Kelli Smith reports.
— Fourth suspect charged with killing retired Chicago firefighter Dwain Williams, fatally shot during botched carjacking, by Tribune’s Rosemary Sobol
— Madigan’s ComEd legal bills surpass $1M since October: “The $1.03 million the Friends of Michael J. Madigan political fund spent with Katten Muchin Rosenman represents a sharp uptick in legal spending by the Chicago Democrat and comes as a federal bribery probe intensified. During the first three quarters of last year, Madigan’s campaign committee spent about $726,000 with the firm,” by WBEZ’s Dave McKinney.
— He’s no longer ‘Mr. Speaker,’ but he’s still ‘Public Official A’: “Madigan, whose record run as House speaker ended in stunning fashion last week, remains the unnamed politician at the center of an ongoing federal corruption probe that so far has led to bribery charges against one of his closest confidants and several others tied to utility giant Commonwealth Edison. Madigan has not been charged and has vehemently denied any wrongdoing. But now that he’s lost the speaker’s gavel, there has been talk in some political circles of what it might mean for the U.S. attorney’s office and its still-active investigation,” write tribune’s Jason Meisner and Ray Long.
Zion approves child care center, then backtracks because it’s too close to proposed marijuana cultivation center: “In mid-December, Zion city officials approved a permit for a child care facility to open in an industrial area on the city’s eastern edge. Seven days later, the council suspended the permit pending a public hearing, in part because “it appears that the property lines of the (cannabis) Center Property and the Child Day Care Property are within 2,500 feet of each other,” in violation of state law, according to a copy of a city ordinance,” by Lake County News-Sun’s Sarah Freishtat.
— Cannabis taxes fund $31.4M in state grants to groups helping poor communities: “The grants, which go to 81 community organizations, result from the law legalizing adult-use marijuana in Illinois. It requires 25% of pot tax revenues help communities suffering from economic disinvestment, violence, and the multilayered harm of disparate weed enforcement,” by Sun-Times’ Maudlyne Ihejirika.
— New House speaker’s team lacks suburban leaders, Willis says: “New Illinois House Speaker Chris Welch’s leadership team, which he announced Thursday, does not have enough suburban representation and includes too many Michael Madigan loyalists, says Democratic state Rep. Kathleen Willis of Addison. The team also does not include any of the women who ran for House Speaker — Willis, Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego and Rep. Ann Williams of Chicago, she noted,” by Daily Herald’s J.J. Bullock.
… Column: Stephanie Kifowit stuck her neck out against Michael Madigan. She has no regrets, writes Aurora Beacon-News’ Denise Crosby.
— With no oversight, cities flout state law that encourages affordable housing: “The [Illinois Housing Appeals] board is part of the Illinois Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act, which was originally passed in 2003. That law requires cities with at least 1,000 residents and with less than 10% affordable housing to submit affordable housing plans to the state. The law is intended to encourage affordable housing, but resistance is rampant,” reports WBEZ’s Natalie Moore.
— Startups surging as entrepreneurs chase dreams amid the pandemic: “More than 169,500 businesses were started in Illinois in 2020, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. That was the highest number of business startups in the Midwest last year and sixth-highest nationally,” reports WBEZ’s Michael Puente.
— Q&A: New state Sen. Win Stoller on legislating at the margins: “You have to work well with people, and even though we disagree on many policy ideas, there are areas where we do agree and there’s actually many votes that are very bipartisan. They don’t get a lot of attention in the press, because usually they’re not the big reform legislation, controversial things. But that said, people are people, and if you treat people with dignity and respect, and you come at them in a good respectful way, that’s the way you get things accomplished,” he tells Peoria Public Radio’s Christine Hatfield.
— Illinois sees rise in unemployment claims: “Amid reports that Illinois is suffering from a nationwide fraud scheme in phony filings, the Labor Department said that Illinois saw 109,000 new claims for benefits last week, up 14,000 from 95,000 the week before. Only Californina registered more new claims last week, 124,000,” by One Illinois’ Ted Cox.
— Q&A Chicago State prof slams 1776 report for ignoring the full story of slavery in America: “A day after the Trump administration dropped The 1776 Report, WBEZ spoke with Chicago State University history professor Lionel Kimble Jr. about the controversial report. Kimble is also president of the Chicago branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History,” reports WBEZ’s Esther Yoon-Ji Kang.
— Donald Edwards was unanimously re-elected Thursday to a third one-year term as chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees during its annual organizational meeting. Edwards is an alumnus of the U. of I. Urbana-Champaign who has served as a trustee since 2017. The Chicago resident is CEO of Flexpoint Ford, a Chicago-based private equity investment firm he founded in 2004 that manages some $4 billion in assets.
— Enemies, a love story: Inside the 36-year Biden and McConnell relationship, by POLITICO’s Alex Thompson
— Liz Cheney’s problems pile up, by POLITICO’s Melanie Zanona and Olivia Beavers
— Trump starts taking his second impeachment seriously, by Gabby Orr and Meridith McGraw
THURSDAY’s ANSWER: Congratulations to Jaime Guzman, Nike’s Social and Community Impact leader in Chicago and former VP of the Chicago Board of Education, for correctly answering that of three former governors who called Kankakee home, only Gov. Len Small was born there. Govs. George Ryan and the late Samuel Shapiro were born in Iowa and Estonia, respectively.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the Chicago high school athletic standout who went on to hold a world track and field record — and become a congressman? Email to [email protected].
Today: Chief Diversity Officer of Chicago Marquis Miller, former Rep. Melissa Bean, United Airlines chief comms officer and SVP Josh Earnest, former state House candidate Jason Gonzales, Edelman Executive VP of Financial Communications Lisa Leiter, small-business expert Barry Moltz, Chicago Public Square Publisher Charlie Meyerson, and Matthew Lustbader, University of Michigan Law School J.D. candidate and former policy associate at Illinois Action for Children.
Saturday: Cook County Associate Judge Stephanie Miller, former Democratic Rep. Marty Russo, former Republican Rep. Bobby Schilling, Purple Strategies co-founder Alexander Castellanos, political consultant and Calumet City Ald. James “J.R.” Patton, and LaTanya Lumpkin, assistant deputy Clerk-Elections, Cook County Clerk’s Office
Sunday: Springfield Ald. Joe McMenamin, and former OMB Director and HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who is now running for mayor of New York City.
January 22, 2021 at 07:42AM