Good Tuesday morning, Illinois. Word to the wise: Dig your car out before temps drop again.
Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is being considered for a high-profile ambassadorship in the Biden administration, according to an NBC News report. Maybe China or Japan.
Emanuel’s name emerged as Biden moves “to fill dozens of vacancies in capitals across the world, with decisions expected in coming weeks,” the story states.
The former mayor, White House chief of staff and congressman is a boldface name in political circles who has been namechecked for a wide range of positions in recent weeks and would certainly bring attention to an ambassadorship. The New York Times’ @ShaneGoldmacher put it this way: “Rahm for everything.”
But Emanuel also draws scorn from the left for suppressing the 2014 dashcam footage of a Chicago police officer killing Laquan McDonald until after he had won reelection. So his appointment would not only be a surprise but also clearly prompt an outcry again.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lashed out on Twitter when Emanuel’s name came up as a possible Transportation secretary. “Covering up a murder is disqualifying for public leadership,” she wrote. So, the political calculus will be something to watch if Biden follows through, particularly this early in his administration.
Emanuel would follow in the footsteps of notable ambassador names. Obama selected Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican, as ambassador to China — a move Emanuel helped orchestrate. And Japan, a strategic U.S. ally in Asia, saw Caroline Kennedy serve in the role during Obama’s first term and former Vice President Walter Mondale held the position during the Clinton administration.
Emanuel wouldn’t be the first U.S. ambassador from Chicago: Republican operative Ron Gidwitz has served as ambassador to Belgium during the Trump administration; businessmen Louis Susman was ambassador to England during the Obama administration, and David Jacobsen and Bruce Heyman were ambassadors to Canada, respectively, also during the Obama terms. Ivo Daalder, president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, served as U.S. ambassador to NATO under Obama.
The Illinois Republican Party is at an inflection point that’s gone beyond the urban vs. rural debate. Now the state party, like its national counterpart, must decide whether it’s in lockstep with former President Donald Trump and his loyal supporters or head down a path that’s more inclusive.
The direction it takes will be determined in large part on Saturday, when the state Republican Central Committee selects its next chairman. Current leader Tim Schneider is stepping down after five years in the position.
A critical litmus test in replacing Schneider may be the candidates’ views of Rep. Adam Kinzinger and his vote to support Trump’s impeachment. Do they want to censure the 16th District congressman, as some Republicans have called for? Or do they agree to disagree with him, as Schneider has done.
Mark Shaw, the Lake County Republican Party chairman who represents the more conservative arm of the party, has talked about censure with Republicans but told Playbook he hasn’t yet decided to take a public stand on the issue. “I have not taken a position yet on whether U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger should be admonished by the Republican Party for his actions and/or comments,” he said in a text. He would not elaborate on his thoughts about Kinzinger’s vote.
Shaw is supported by former congressional candidate Jim Oberweis and grassroots conservatives, and he’s also taken heat from pro-Trumpers like Catalina Lauf, centrist state Sen. Sue Rezin, and others. Lauf and Rezin have taken issue with Shaw for endorsing Oberweis in the IL-14 GOP primary weeks before petitions were filed.
That Shaw would engineer a campaign in a contested primary to favor a white man over a respected female state senator (Rezin) and a pro-Trump Latina (Lauf) has infuriated many Republicans across the state.
Rezin wrote a letter to party leaders in November complaining about Shaw’s actions. And Lauf tweeted over the weekend, saying, “We need a leader who will listen to those on the ground, committed to grassroots, and who can actually lead the GOP in this State on a path forward.”
The other candidates applying for state GOP chair say they don’t support Kinzinger’s impeachment vote but they also don’t back censure.
“I strongly disagree with Congressman Kinzinger’s vote…but I also oppose an Illinois GOP censure of him,” former Illinois Gaming Board exec Don Tracy told Playbook. Tracy is a downstate Republican who has support from grassroots conservatives as well as centrists. He’s backed by Congressman Darin LaHood and Rodney Davis, state House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, and conservative voice John Tillman.
Kendall County Board Chairman Scott Gryder, who has the support of state Rep. Keith Wheeler, echoed Tracy, saying, “We as a party need to focus on what unifies us which is electing candidates that support our small businesses, fight for the middle class, promote transparency in government and fight corruption.”
— Trump pollster’s campaign autopsy paints damning picture of defeat, by POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt
Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]
In a virtual 10 a.m. press conference with Chicago Sky owners and officials to welcome two-time WNBA MVP and local legend Candace Parker to the team. (The mayor loves basketball.)
No official public events.
No official public events.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday reported 156 additional deaths and 2,312 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 19,259 fatalities and 1,128,613 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Jan. 25 through 31 is 3.9 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 5.6 percent.
— Illinois expected to top 1 million vaccinations: “The Illinois Department of Public Health reported that it has received more than 1.8 million doses of the vaccine designed to prevent coronavirus illness. As of midday Monday, 996,410 people had received the first of two required shots,” reports AP’s John O’Connor.
— It’s February, but Illinois’ Covid-19 metrics making it look more like October: “The number of new infections is the lowest in nearly four months, and the number of deaths the lowest in nearly three months. The preliminary seven-day statewide Covid-19 positivity rate hovered at 3.9% for the second day in a row, the lowest since early October,” by Sun-Times’ Manny Ramos and Rachel Hinton.
— Depression, mental health crises and even loss of toilet training are on the rise in kids as the pandemic drags on: “We probably see more mental health visits than we do sick visits,” said Dr. Valerie Kimball, a pediatrician in north suburban Evanston. WBEZ’s Susie An reports.
— Chicago delays school reopening and calls for ‘cooling off’ period amid union standoff: “The statement, released after a weekend that brought escalating tensions between the two sides, said that they had made additional progress on key issues Monday, but did not name the areas of agreement. ‘As a result of the progress we have made, and as a gesture of good faith, for now, teachers will retain access to their Google Suite,’ the statement said,” reports Chalkbeat Chicago’s Yana Kunichoff.
… The tick-tock on how we got here, by Tribune’s Hannah Leone, Gregory Pratt, Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas and Leslie Bonilla.
… Meanwhile, CPS reaches reopening deal with 9,000 district staff represented by SEIU Local 73, by Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito.
— Federal, local officials call for cooperation with community to help prevent carjackings: “In a virtual town hall hosted by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, prosecutors and law enforcement officials discuss “holistic approach” to address the increase in the area’s carjackings,” by Sun-Times’ Sophie Sherry.
— Affordable housing proposal could boost inclusive options and end opt-out fee as ‘apocalyptic’ eviction crisis looms: “Proponents are hoping to get the word out about the Chicago Inclusive Housing Ordinance (CIHO), the reform legislation they hope will create more inclusive, affordable housing, potentially lessening the blow of the looming eviction crisis prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic,” writes Tribune’s Darcel Rockett.
— Mexican government helping family of mom, 4 daughters who died in Des Plaines fire to obtain visas to attend funeral services, by Tribune’s Laura Rodriguez Presa
— Chicago digs out from snowiest storm in 5 years: “The weekend storm also meant Chicago saw its snowiest week in six years, dating back to February 2015, when the city saw its fifth-snowiest blizzard ever, according to the weather service,” reports Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas.
— Theo Epstein joins private-equity firm that buys stakes in teams: “The former Red Sox and Cubs executive has joined Arctos Sports Partners, a firm that is dedicated to buying minority shares of pro clubs,” via the WSJ.
— Column: The Logan Square couple behind Eiffel Tower made of snow: “We thought, ‘If we can’t go to Paris, we’ll bring Paris to us,’” they tell Tribune’s Heidi Stevens.
— Just a reminder: It’s NOT TRUE that property owners can be sued if someone slips on shoveled sidewalk, reports WBEZ’s Patty Wetli
TRANSPORTATION EQUITY: Nearly 50 state lawmakers, including House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch, are calling on the Illinois Department of Transportation to make equity a priority in employment and to do a better job of bringing transportation to minority and low-income communities.
The Illinois lawmakers’ letter ticks off transportation efforts that hurt rather than help these communities, such as highways cutting through neighborhoods, or by allowing longer wait times or fewer trains and buses.
They called on IDOT to include community members in planning, hire a more diverse workforce, and deliver transportation investments in communities of color.
The letter is a preview to legislation that lawmakers will consider this year and echoes efforts being made in California as well as the Biden administration’s broader shift toward equity.
“Transportation can be a critical tool to improve access to jobs, education, and opportunity. However, transportation can also be used to discriminate, disconnect and create barriers to opportunity,” according to their letter to IDOT Acting Secretary Omer Osman. Along with Welch, the letter is signed by Rep. Kam Buckner, who heads the Illinois House Black Caucus, state Sen. Ram Villivalam, who heads the Senate Transportation Committee, and Senate Black Caucus Chair Robert Peters.
Cook County Young Democrats Chair Chakena Perry is throwing her hat in the ring for the 32nd District House seat now held by Rep. André Thapedi, who announced he’s stepping down. Perry is board president of Chicago Votes Action Fund and a board member of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action.
— Project to block Asian carp from entering Lake Michigan moves forward: “The next phase of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ project for the Brandon Road Lock and Dam near Joliet is moving ahead after state and federal funding has been secured. The project aims to block out some particularly prolific species of invasive carp that could destroy the balance of the Great Lakes ecosystem and eat their way through the region’s $7 billion fishing industry,” by Tribune’s Morgan Greene.
— GOP members hope to block new teacher standard rules: “Republican Illinois state lawmakers are pushing back on proposed new standards for teachers and administrators that are scheduled for a hearing before a legislative rulemaking committee later this month. Supporters of the proposed “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards” say they’re merely an attempt to make sure that all educators are trained in ways to reach students across all racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. But critics are calling them a form of political indoctrination that seeks to inject partisan, liberal ideology into the classroom,” by Capitol News’ Peter Hancock.
— How criminal justice bill would overhaul officer certification: “Opponents of the bill have claimed the ability to file [police] complaints anonymously will result in officers being targeted by disgruntled citizens and criminals who will flood the system to get them fired. State Attorney General Kwame Raoul contends the provisions of the bill prevent unwarranted termination by filtering complaints through several layers, and that confidentiality is important to preserve the integrity of the process. ‘We have to realize there have been incidents throughout the country that make the public at large feel that they can’t have the greatest level of trust in law enforcement and we have to restore that public trust,’” he told Capitol News’ Raymon Troncoso.
— Illinois sets sports betting dandle record at $449.2M: “The Illinois Gaming Board released its full sports betting figures for the month of November on Monday, and the Land of Lincoln set a new standard for the sixth month running with a traditional handle of $449.2 million. November’s handle was a modest 3.4% increase on October’s amount of nearly $434.6 million total dollars wagered at the state’s eight sportsbook operators…Illinois became the sixth state — joining New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Colorado — to surpass $1 billion in cumulative handle as operators have accepted nearly $1.4 billion in wagers,” by Sports Handle’s Chris Altruda.
— McCombie calls out Pritzker in Quad Cities discussion: In a meeting about issues facing the Quad Cities, Republican Rep. Tony McCombie called out Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker for freezing implementation of a new set of state business tax credits due to the budget crisis caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The incentives allow companies that receive tax credits for relocating or expanding in Illinois to qualify for more credits based on wages paid to employees for construction associated with relocation or expansion, writes Quad City Times Tom Barton.
— Illinoisans still inundated with fraud; IDES says they are working on it: “Fraud claims remain the most glaring issue at the Illinois Department of Employment Security, even as all areas of the state are seeing increases in unemployment compared to a year ago,” reports WICS’ Matt Roy.
— IHSA adjusts rules for out-of-conference, travel for athletic competitions: “The Illinois High School Association, in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Public Health, has established new scheduling guidelines for high school sports, creating more flexibility for schools as they look to put together schedules for upcoming athletic seasons,” by NBC/5’s Chris Coffey.
— Opinion: One reporter’s decades-long dance with Mike Madigan: “Politicians calculate what they say and do. Journalists turn what they say and do into stories. And every now and then they interact like normal human beings,” writes Andy Shaw.
— Dream of entertainment-focused complex in Naperville ‘on the cusp’ of reality after 25 years, developer says: City Gate West, a $200 million proposed development, goes before the Naperville City Council tonight. The mixed-use, arts-focused project is the vision of developer Aristotle Halikias and has been 25 years in the making. Halikias told the Naperville Sun he expects Naperville will bounce back quickly after the pandemic, making it the right time for CityGate West. “We are now on the cusp to make this vision a reality,” he said. “Twenty-five years might seem like a long time, but it’s just the beginning.” The Sun’s Suzanne Baker reports.
— Oswego woman rescued after falling through ice while searching for her dog, by Aurora Beacon-News’ Megan Jones.
— Debra Shore, a commissioner with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, was selected to represent the Midwest on The Restoration Project, a list of the 100 “most egregious environmental harms caused by the Trump administration and what actions the U.S. can take to reverse them.” The report was delivered to the Biden-Harris transition team in November and released to the public Monday. The Guardian published an op-ed about the project.
With state budget shortfall, public universities could see major cuts: “Higher education is often one of the first areas to be cut during budget shortfalls,” said Jennifer Delaney, an associate professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education. She says budget cuts in previous gubernatorial administrations, plus the added costs of the Covid-19 pandemic, leaves public colleges and universities in a bad spot financially, reports Jakob Emerson of WICS in Springfield.
— Chicago files yet another lawsuit against e-cigarette industry: “Four months ago, the Chicago City Council banned the sale of flavored vaping products favored by teens, but exempting flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. On Monday, that watered-down law triggered its first lawsuit — one that accuses Equte LLC, a marketing firm, as well as Vapes.com, of ‘marketing and selling flavored vaping products’ to Chicago kids,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Worth Township trustee pleads guilty for not filing tax returns: “Richard Lewandowski is president of Breaker Press Co., records show. The commercial printer promotes itself online as a third-generation family company founded in the 1970s that has become ‘a well-known name in the political and corporate printing industry,’” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.
Dori Wilson, Chicago publicist who helped promote stars and was one herself, dead at 77: “The former fashion model, a favorite subject of famed photographer Victor Skrebneski, died in her sleep after returning home from a friend’s funeral, her assistant said,” by Sun-Times’ Maureen O’Donnell.
— Conservative groups go MIA on Trump’s impeachment, by POLITICO’s Gabby Orr and Meridith McGraw
— Biden takes a fine-if-we-get-it approach to bipartisanship, by POLITICO’s Tyler Pager, Anita Kumar and Laura Barron-Lopez
— Burgeoning North Carolina Senate primary highlights Democratic divides, by POLITICO’s James Arkin
Susan Poll Klaessy and Margaret Nelson have been promoted to partner status at Foley & Lardner law firm’s Chicago office. They previously worked as senior counsel and of counsel, respectively. Klaessy is part of the Bankruptcy & Business Reorganization and Business Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practices. Nelson is a member of the Securities Enforcement & Litigation Practice.
— Today at 11:30 a.m.: A free webinar on how to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program, PPP, will feature state Rep. Kam Buckner, state Sen. Robert Peters, Secretary of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Erin Guthrie, the Federal Credit Union’s Tracy Ward, and business owner Stacy Armstrong. The event is sponsored by the Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, Illinois Black Caucus Foundation and other partners. Register here
— Feb. 18 and 19: University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics and the Cook Political Report are hosting the Margin of Error: Lessons From 2020 Polling virtual conference. David Axelrod, David Wasserman, Amy Walter, Charlie Cook, J. Ann Selzer, David Chalian, Cornell Belcher, and others will discuss takeaways from 2020, lessons for the next cycle, and demographics of the future electorate. Register here
FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Gene Reineke of Hawthorne Strategy Group for correctly answering that former Sen. W. Russell Arrington gave a young Jim Edgar advice to focus on fixing problems instead of political gain.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the Illinois lieutenant governor whose government offices were taken away, forcing him to ask the Illinois’ secretary of state at the time for new office space? Email to [email protected].
Patrick Doggett, deputy district director for Rep. Adam Kinzinger.
And belated greetings to Erin Steva, VP of external affairs at Chicago State University, who celebrated on Monday.
February 2, 2021 at 07:41AM