Happy Wednesday, Illinois. Crowds may be returning to Wrigley Field, but for vaccines. It’s a start, folks.
For the first time in 23 years, the Illinois Democratic Party will have a new chair — and it’s going to be a Black woman. Tonight’s vote by the Democratic Illinois Central Committee symbolizes a new chapter in state politics after the long tenure of party leader Michael Madigan. The contest is between Chicago Ald. Michelle Harris and Congresswoman Robin Kelly, both well-respected Black elected officials.
Still, there’s tension in how this competition will turn out and the appointment process has become a proxy fight for control of the Democratic Party. Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Sen. Tammy Duckworth are backing Harris, and Sen. Dick Durbin is supporting Kelly.
Taking the reins of the party also means controlling money. Given Pritzker’s wealth, he’s expected to fill party coffers and in turn have a big say on how funds are spent. Kelly, because of her position in Congress, would operate a more decentralized operation that likely would see Durbin’s top aide, Bill Houlihan, playing a role in governing.
Tonight, all eyes will be on the 36 Democratic Central Committee members who will vote on the next chair. Many of them have made their choices public: 15 for Harris and 11 for Kelly. Though there’s a chance some committee members change their minds when it comes time to vote. Ten committee members have yet to go public with their position.
The virtual meeting will be livestreamed on Bluestream starting at 6 p.m. Candidate speeches and voting will take place after committee members honor Madigan for his service. We’re interested in who goes on record for him.
Players to watch: Board of Review Commissioner Mike Cabonargi is the big question mark because he holds a large number of weighted votes. He’s a longtime friend of Pritzker’s — the two were part of a brat pack group of Democrats that worked on elections outside of the ward system. But Cabonargi also worked for Durbin and has remained loyal to the senator.
Lauren Beth Gash is a former state rep who now chairs the Lake County Democratic Party. Like Pritzker, she served on the Illinois Human Rights Commission and years ago worked on staff for Sen. Alan Dixon.
Kristina Zahorik, a former senior legislative aide for the late Sen. Paul Simon, holds a powerful position separate from the state committee. She’s president of the Illinois Democratic County Chairs Association.
State Sen. Michael Hastings is entering the race today to succeed retiring Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, arguing he’s got the experience to handle the challenges of the job,
“My military experience, my business experience, and my [state] Senate experience make me a unique candidate,” Hastings, a Democrat, told Playbook in advance of this morning’s campaign kickoff. “I’ve worked in small and large-scale organizations in the most hostile environments — whether during my time in Iraq or during the Bruce Rauner era.”
Hastings, a state senator from Tinley Park, was an Army captain deployed in Iraq in 2006, coordinating air, ground and security movements for his division.
He went on to work for Johnson & Johnson. “You may have heard of them,” Hastings joked Tuesday, referring to the company whose been approved to produce a Covid-19 vaccine. In the late 2000s, Hastings oversaw the company’s medical device division and says he helped lead a “multi-million-dollar turnaround” in the Midwest.
Hastings has served in the state Senate for nine years, including as a majority caucus whip. He’s up for re-election in 2022.
He credited White with transforming an agency that had been in “disarray.” Hastings says he wants to “build on that foundation.” In particular, he would focus on expanding online services to renew driver licenses, strengthening protections for voters, and preventing identity theft. Hastings also wants to expand organ donor awareness.
Hastings faces a growing field in the secretary of state race. Ald. Pat Dowell, former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, and Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia, are all trying to line up support for the contest.
Hastings is backed by the carpenters union in his district. He’ll be announcing his run today at the Regional Council of Carpenters Apprentices and Training Program in Elk Grove Village.
This isn’t his first run for secretary of state. Hastings filed four years ago when White initially planned to retire. After White changed his mind, Hastings became the honorary chairman of White last campaign.
White so far isn’t endorsing anyone for 2022. But he wished Hastings luck. “He said ‘Run hard.’ He’s a military guy. I’m a military guy,” said Hastings. “He knows I’ll compete.”
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In City Hall at 9 a.m. with CPD Superintendent David Brown and other city leaders to provide an update on the Chicago’s search warrant policy.
At College of Lake County at 11 a.m. to discuss investments in higher education. At the Waukegan Park District Field House at 12:30 to discuss the criminal justice and police reform bill. And online with Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton at 5:30 p.m. for a discussion on inclusion at a virtual Women and Girls Summit in celebration of Women’s History Month.
Online at 3:30 p.m. to announce a Covid-19 vaccine site in Des Plaines.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 47 new deaths and 1,577 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 20,583 fatalities and 1,189,416 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Feb. 23 through March 1 is 2.4 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 2.9 percent.
— Biden accelerates vaccination timeline after manufacturing deal: “The Biden administration helped broker the deal after reports earlier this year that J&J was struggling with production delays,” by POLITICO’s Sarah Owermohle and Adam Cancryn.
— Senate Dems wrestle with unemployment benefits in Biden’s Covid aid plan: “They call it targeting, which means the sum total may not change, but the allocation of it may,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “I don’t agree with them on the unemployment part." Narrower targeting of the aid bill’s stimulus checks, Durbin said, "is being discussed.” POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine, Caitlin Emma and Burgess Everett report.
— Wrigley Field could join United Center as mass vaccination site: “But will fans be able to watch baseball in person at Wrigley — or Guaranteed Rate Field — this season? Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday said it’s going to happen, but she didn’t say how soon,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman and Katie Anthony.
… Registration for United Center vaccinations to open Thursday, a day earlier than previously announced, reports Tribune’s Alice Yin
— Language barriers leaving non-English speakers behind in vaccine rollout: “In Cook County, there’s actually a number you can call if you don’t speak English, don’t have the internet or don’t know how to use their website. But nearly three months into vaccine distribution in Illinois, there’s no multilingual vaccine helpline for the state or city as a whole. The city on Tuesday announced a multilingual helpline will start Thursday, but only for those trying to book an appointment at the new United Center mass vaccination site,” by WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel.
— Lightfoot says she was ‘sexually harassed in a workplace,’ sympathizes with Cuomo accusers: “Every woman who has been sexually harassed in a workplace setting, as I have been, understands how difficult it is for a woman to come forward and to speak her truth,” the mayor said. Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman reports.
— INVESTIGATION: Work by panel that identified 41 public monuments for possible removal remains opaque: “Committee formed by Lightfoot concluded statues of Columbus, Washington, Lincoln and others should be reviewed, but City Hall isn’t releasing many details about how those decisions came to be because it says the committee isn’t a public body,” by Better Government Association’s David Jackson.
— Chicago bars, restaurants can stay open until 1 a.m., boost capacity to 50%: “Because people are still adhering to the public health guidance, it makes all the difference in the world,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a news conference announcing the changes. “Thanks to your efforts, we are one step closer to putting this pandemic in our rearview mirror.” Gregory Pratt, Alice Yin, Adam Lukach and Louisa Chu report.
— Amazon strikes $45M deal to buy SW Side steel plant; it could become site of its biggest warehouse in Chicago, reports Tribune’s Ryan Ori
— Lightfoot says Cubs, White Sox could host live spectators ‘sometime this season’: “But the mayor declined to offer a timeline on when, noting the city is ‘in discussions’ with the city’s baseball teams and they’ll announce more details later,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt.
— Feds hone in on Emanuel administration’s role in General Iron move: “The officials are asking for thousands of pages of documents as they broaden their focus into the role the city had in relocating the industrial metal shredder from the North Side to the Southeast Side. The outcome of the investigation could force Chicago to substantially change its practices,” by Sun-Times’ Brett Chase.
— Dr. Lester Fisher turns 100, reflects on 30 years as Lincoln Park Zoo director: “Fisher was hired by then-Lincoln Park Zoo Director Marlin Perkins as a part-time vet — at the time there were no full-time vets at the zoo….In 1962, Perkins left, going on to TV fame as the host of ‘Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,’ and Fisher was hired to be the zoo’s new director,” by WTTW’s Phil Ponce and Paul Caine.
— Third man alleges inappropriate behavior by South Side priest Pfleger: “As the Chicago Archdiocese investigates allegations that the Rev. Michael Pfleger molested two brothers in the 1970s, a third man has come forward to say the priest made an unwanted sexual advance when the accuser was 18,” by Tribune’s Christie Gutowski.
— Illinois requests standardized testing waiver, but Biden administration says exams are required: “Kathi Griffin, president of the Illinois Education Association (IEA), a statewide union, says standardized tests aren’t designed to assess learning loss or academic progress during a pandemic. IEA was one of multiple education-related organizations that supported ISBE’s request to waive testing requirements entirely this year,” reports Illinois Newsroom’s Lee V. Gaines.
— House Human Services panel OKs bill extending “age out” date for students with special needs: “The Illinois House Human Services Committee approved a bill Tuesday to allow students to stay in special education programs until the end of the school year, even if they turn 22 years old earlier that year,” by WGEM’s Mike Miletich.
— Illinois Liquor Control Commission appears for appropriations hearing: “The Illinois Liquor Control Commission asked for a flat budget of roughly $11.6 million. Officials note the vast majority of the money comes from the DRAM shop fund. Which is made up of revenue collected from any place that legally sells alcohol in the state. Commission Executive Director Chima Enyia said this funding can help businesses struggling through the pandemic,” by Illinois Capitol Bureau’s Ali Rasper.
— Report renews calls for consolidation, service sharing of Illinois’ 9,000 local governments: “Illinois has long held the record for the most units of local government in any state — 8,923 local taxing bodies to be exact, according to a recent report by the Chicago-based Civic Federation,” by WGLT’s Derek Cantu.
— BIG ILLINI WIN: Without Ayo Dosunmu, No. 4 Illinois Routs No. 2 Michigan: “Even without their best player, Illinois handed it to Michigan in Ann Arbor,” via Sports Illustrated.
— Brookfield Zoo reopens with new polar bear, Mexican gray wolves making their debut: “Hope, a 5-year-old polar bear, and mother/daughter Mexican gray wolves Sibi and 2-year-old Lorena, have been hanging out at the zoo for a few weeks now, but this is the first zoo members and visitors will be able to see them,” by Pioneer Press’ Wendy Fox Weber.
— Chakena Perry hosts the Broad Cast podcast for a conversation on environmental justice in Cook County. Perry, who works in the office of MWRD Commissioner Josina Morita, talks to Iyana Simba, policy director for Illinois Environmental Council, and Dawn Walker, the chief of staff to MWRD Commissioner Cameron Davis. The episode pays homage to the late Hazel M. Johnson, born on Chicago’s South Side and described as the Mother of environmental justice.
— Chicago man charged with inciting August riot downtown: “A Chicago man allegedly sent social media messages to dozens of individuals in an attempt to organize looting during a night of unrest in the downtown area last summer. James Massey, 22, was arrested Tuesday and charged with one count of using a facility of interstate commerce to incite a riot, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago,” by WTTW’s Matt Masterson.
— Judge balks at potential plea deal for ‘serial stowaway’ in most recent alleged try to sneak onto flight: “Marilyn Hartman, 69, was already out on probation when she picked up her most recent trespassing case, Judge Peggy Chiampas said. And Chiampas implied heavily that any prison sentence she would likely impose would be negligible, since Hartman has earned so much credit for her time in custody pretrial. Hartman’s latest case includes burglary and trespassing charges after she was arrested while allegedly trying to pass a security checkpoint at O’Hare International Airport,” by Tribune’s Megan Crepeau.
Cresco Labs files shelf registration for up to $1B in financing: “The company could sell debt securities, equity, warrants, or a combination of some or all,” reports Motley Fool.
— BILL DOERRER, an Illinois political operative who was director of delegate operations for Joe Biden leading up to the convention, has joined the U.S. Treasury Department as White House liaison. Doerrer also served on the Legal Policy and Personnel teams of the Biden-Harris Transition. Before all that, Doerrer worked for former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
— Jim Rigg, school superintendent for the Archdiocese of Chicago, announces resignation: “Rigg is expected to transition out of his role by June… ‘I feel that this is the right time to step away from my role and let another superintendent come forward,’ Rigg said in an emailed announcement to parents,” by Tribune’s Jessica Villagomez.
THE FIFTY: Governors you don’t usually hear from talk about what they want from the Biden-Harris administration. A survey of select governors illuminates “a kind of steady, practical-minded focus that crossed both partisan and geographic divides,” reports POLITICO’s John F. Harris.
— Durbin argues white supremacy extremists are more dangerous than antifa, VIDEO via POLITICO
— Kinzinger talks to The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah about the letter he received from his family, his problems with Biden’s Covid relief bill, the need to compromise on a minimum wage, and the future of the GOP.
— Trump aides build out the MAGA-verse with new groups, by POLITICO’s Alex Isenstadt
— The real post-Trump GOP divide: House vs. Senate, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett and Melanie Zanona
— Shalanda Young shines as Tanden’s nomination nixed, by POLITICO’s Jennifer Scholtes
— De Blasio’s payback: New York mayor unloads on wounded Cuomo, by POLITICO’s Erin Durkin
Vernon Jordan, the civil rights leader turned consummate Washington insider: “As a veteran civil rights leader, he had been waiting for decades for the kind of triumph Barack Obama’s victory would represent. At the same time, he had known Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton since the late 1970s. There was no real doubt that he would endorse her, and genuinely mean it,” recalls POLITICO’s John F. Harris.
Jordan also was connected to Chicago, where he served on the board of Sara Lee Corp. He also had a family connection: Jordan was the great-uncle of former Obama senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Today at 5:30 p.m.: Gov. J.B. Pritzker headlines a discussion with Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton about economic inclusion. Chicago Foundation for Women CEO Felicia Davis will also take part. The event is part of Stratton’s Women and Girls Virtual Summit that will be held Wednesdays during Women’s History Month. It will be livestreamed on her Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Thursday at 6:30 p.m.: Understanding the Criminal Justice Reform Package that the governor signed is the subject of a webinar featuring state Rep. Maurice West and state Sen. Elgie Sims. Rockford Ministers Fellowship and LiveFree Rockford will take part.
TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to election attorney Michael Kreloff, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s Timothy McMahon and the dozens of other trivia fans (including longtime House spokesman Steve Brown!) who correctly answered that Gary LaPaille preceded Michael Madigan as chair of the Illinois Democratic Party.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Sen. Dick Durbin is now chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Who was the previous Illinois senator to chair the panel? Email to [email protected].
Hotel & Lodging Association CEO Michael Jacobson, Cook County Assessor’s chief comms officer Scott Smith, Irish Fellowship Club executive director Kathy Taylor, photographer Diane Alexander White, caterer Jim Horan, and playbooker Molly Higgins Cassin.
March 3, 2021 at 07:40AM