Good Thursday morning, Illinois. Bring out the birthday cake. On this day in 1837, the state of Illinois granted a city charter to Chicago.
Congresswoman Robin Kelly was elected chair of the Illinois Democratic Party Wednesday night, ushering in a new era for party politics after 23 years of leadership by former House Speaker Michael Madigan.
The 36-member Democratic State Central Committee voted 52 percent for Kelly to 48 percent for Chicago Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), who is Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s floor leader.
“Tonight we made history,” Kelly told committee members during a virtual meeting that was viewed by more than 800 guests. She is the first woman and the first person of color to hold the position.
Kelly won support by vowing to decentralize the party structure so more voices are included in decision-making — and fundraising. A point of debate last night was about Kelly’s inability to fundraise for state and local elections because she serves in Congress.
“We’re going to have a serious problem. Republicans are going to have a field day with this,” state Senate President John Cullerton, a committee member who backed Harris. Kelly dismissed the concern saying it’s something she can work around.
The issue didn’t sway Kelly’s supporters who see her as a change from Madigan’s top-down style of managing the party.
Kelly’s victory was a loss for Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who with Sen. Tammy Duckworth, backed Harris and was outmaneuvered in trying to take control of the Democratic Party. Harris was seen as an establishment candidate even though she presented new ideas for building up the party structure and creating a “small-donor fundraising program.” But some committee members found lobbying tactics by Pritzker’s aides to be heavy-handed with numerous emails and calls, while Kelly asked directly to talk.
It was also a victory for Sen. Dick Durbin, who for years has operated as something of a second fiddle in party politics. A top aide, Greg Bales, played a key role in helping Durbin whip votes for Kelly. Bales was campaign manager for Durbin in 2020 and for Rep. Sean Casten in 2018.
Casten isn’t a committee member, but he endorsed Kelly, which opened a window for committee members from his district, Patrick Watson and Nancy Shepherdson, to do the same. That’s due to Bales’ relationship.
Key voting blocs on the state committee also helped lock Kelly’s win. Rep. Chuy Garcia, state Sen. Cristina Castro, and Ald. Silvana Tabares all pledged their support. They identified the growing Latino population in the suburbs as a concern. Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Iris Martinez also backed Kelly.
And Kelly won the support of Lake County Democrats on the Central Committee, including Lauren Beth Gash and Thomas Maillard, and downstate committee members Kristina Zahorik, Christina Benson, and Kate Jennings of the 14th, 16th and 17th congressional districts, respectively.
Board of Review Commissioner Mike Cabonargi, who holds a significant number of weighted votes, ultimately backed Kelly.
The 36-member Democratic Central Committee is made up of men and women from each of the 18 congressional districts. Their votes are weighted based on the number of votes cast in the 2020 primary. Last night’s final tally (via Frank Calabrese) showed Kelly won over the majority of members (19) as well as the most weighted votes.
Kelly, whose 2nd Congressional District includes parts of Cook, Will and Kankakee counties as well as some of Chicago’s far southeast side, becomes the latest suburban Democratic lawmaker to gain influence in Illinois. House Speaker Chris Welch and Senate President Don Harmon are both from the western suburbs.
Vice President Kamala Harris called on Chicagoans to line up for the Covid-19 vaccines that will be offered starting next week at the United Center.
In an exclusive interview with WBEZ, Harris acknowledged the “righteous reason” Black Americans may hesitate to get vaccinated against Covid-19. But she added, “it is literally killing the community at highly disproportionate rates.”
Harris has become a strong voice in the Biden administration to address concerns that some Black Americans have about the vaccine. She’s talked to reporters in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and has visited vaccination sites as well.
“The suffering, the grief, is immeasurable, not to mention the economic impact and the educational impact it is disproportionately having on the Black community,” Harris told WBEZ.
The United Center site is scheduled to begin accepting appointments at 8:30 a.m. Thursday from those 65 and older who have not yet been vaccinated. It’s a group the city estimates could be as large as 250,000 people.
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In the Chatham neighborhood at 9:30 a.m. to announce the opening of a new customer care center as part of the City’s INVEST South/West initiative.
At the Jackie Joyner Kersee Center Gym in East Saint Louis at 11 a.m. to highlight the new criminal justice and police reform law. Then at the Touchette Regional Hospital at 12:30 p.m. in Centreville to address distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine to underserved communities. Live feed here
Presiding over the Cook County Commission on Women’s Issues 24th annual virtual Peggy A. Montes Unsung Heroines Awards at 9:30 a.m. (scheduled start time). Live feed
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday reported 44 new deaths and 2,104 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease in Illinois. That’s a total of 20,626 fatalities and 1,191,520 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Feb. 24 through March 2 is 2.4 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 2.9 percent.
— When it comes to Covid, ‘hot spot’ isn’t just a metaphor: “Heat, environmental problems and the pandemic concentrate in certain neighborhoods. Here’s a new idea for what to do about it,” by POLITICO’s Victoria Colliver and Nolan d. McCaskill.
— Illinois set to open two more mass vaccination sites Thursday as workers put finishing touches on United Center site, by Tribune’s Paige Fry and Jenny Whidden
— Chicago Archdiocese affirms vaccines: “While some U.S. bishops are urging Catholics to avoid the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Chicago’s leadership is standing by the Vatican’s guidance,” reports Bloomberg and Crain’s.
BRUCE RAUNER donated $250,000 to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week. The donation came maybe not so coincidentally after residents 65 and older in the gated Florida Keyes complex where Rauner now lives got vaccines ahead of the rest of seniors in Florida, according to the Miami Herald. The story doesn’t say whether Rauner received the vaccine. He turned 65 on Feb. 18.
— Lightfoot proposes changes to police search warrant policies after wrongful raid on Anjanette Young’s home: “The measures outlined by Lightfoot stop short of stricter rules proposed by aldermen and in some cases reflect basic steps such as reviewing mistakes after the fact to find out what went wrong,” report Tribune’s Gregory Pratt, Jeremy Gorner and John Byrne.
— CPS proposes going back to school in August, ditching traditional post-Labor Day start: “The move — which hasn’t been finalized and will still need board approval — would be a departure for a district that has long been one of the few in the state to stick with a September start,” by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa.
— Historic Mercy Hospital in Bronzeville may soon be sold and could avoid closure: “Mercy’s owner, national Catholic hospital group Trinity Health, plans to sell Mercy on the Near South Side to Insight Chicago, a non-profit affiliated with a Flint, Mich.-based biomedical technology company,” by WBEZ’s Kristen Schorsch.
— Film, TV biz making comeback here after Covid: “Work on productions already has returned to pre-pandemic levels, officials say,” reports Crain’s Ally Marotti.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza has introduced a resolution urging public health agencies to include hotel and hospitality workers in Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout. The proposal comes after Chicago hotels experienced their worst year on record in 2020. Hotels have since put in place enhanced cleaning and social distancing protocols. As hotels look to welcome back more guests, Garza’s resolution notes vaccinations will be needed to protect hotel staff. Co-sponsors include Ald. Brian Hopkins, Ald. Leslie Hairston, Ald. Raymond Lopez, Ald. Silvana Tabares, Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, Ald. Maria Hadden, and Ald. Patrick Thompson.
— Urban Grill Chicago is the story of American businesses in Covid-19: “A year after a pandemic shuttered the U.S. economy, an Instagram post catches our eye: ‘Should we FIGHT or LET COVID win?!’ The lament by the owners of a tiny fried chicken, burgers and shrimp joint in the Uptown neighborhood is that of a large segment of Small Business America,” by Sun-Times’ Maudlyne Ihejirika.
— Tank Noodle to pay nearly $700,000 in back wages to 60 employees after federal investigation: “Investigators found that some servers at the restaurant worked only for tips and were not paid direct wages, which the law requires. Some workers also were paid flat amounts each day, regardless of the number of hours they worked, and didn’t receive overtime when their workweek exceeded 40 hours,” by Tribune’s Kim Quillen.
— Why the Chicaaaaago Accent Is Really a New York One: “Robert Forster’s tough-guy long vowels got him typecast as a cop, like Chicagoans Dennis Farina and Dennis Franz. But Forster is from upstate New York. So what gives?” writes Edward McClelland in Chicago magazine.
— ‘Badass Women’ Of Chicago History Highlighted In Virtual Tour, by Block Club’s Joe Ward
State Sen. Bill Cunningham, 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea, and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart will be “plunging” into a dunk tank Friday at Mt. Carmel High School to raise money for the virtual Chicago Polar Plunge, which benefits the 7,500 athletes of the Special Olympics Chicago/Special Children’s Charities program. Cunningham, O’Shea, and Dart are all alumni of Mt. Carmel High School, and will be joined by students and faculty in taking the plunge. The Chicago Polar Plunge has so far raised nearly $750,000. Donations can still be made.
Sons of former state Rep. Eddie Acevedo plead not guilty to tax charges stemming from ComEd probe: “The arraignments for Alex and Michael Acevedo were held a week after they and their father were charged in separate indictments with filing false tax returns in connection with the family’s lobbying firm,” by the Tribune’s Jason Meisner.
UM, NO. After blackface photos surface online, Merrillville councilman says ‘it was purely meant as humor’: “Photos of a white Merrillville councilman surfaced on Facebook last week in which his face is painted in blackface next to a man in a Ku Klux Klan hood and another in which he is being arrested by a white man dressed as a police officer with his baton raised. Councilman Jeffrey Minchuk, D-3rd, posted an apology on his Facebook page Saturday morning stating there was ‘no ill intent whatsoever with this idea or any harm meant’ in his use of blackface and said ‘it was purely meant as humor’ as a Halloween costume,” by Post-Tribune’s Alexandra Kukulka.
— Lawmakers prepare to help families facing eviction: Members of the Illinois House Affordable Housing Committee used their first meeting to dive into data of families struggling to keep their homes during the pandemic. “We have had some housing insecurities, we’ve seen them, but nothing like perhaps what we’ve seen during this pandemic,” said Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Chicago). “And as often times, a number of us have asked people to stay home, we have thousands of our families who have been and continue to be worried about what home looks like because they can’t stay there.” By WGEM’s Ali Rasper
— Bill would end restraint and isolation of students in Illinois: “A House committee agreed Wednesday to continue working on a bill that aims to end the use of physical restraints and isolation as a way of controlling misbehaving students in public school classrooms. House Bill 219, sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook, [addresses] the harmful effects they have on children. Carroll said he was subjected to isolation and restraint when he was a child and that he still lives with the memory of those events,” by Capitol News’ Peter Hancock.
Husband-wife legislative duo from deep red Illinois grab state, national attention: Congresswoman Mary Miller defended her husband, state Rep. Chris Miller, who attended a rally before the attack on the U.S. Capitol. “It never crossed his mind once to be violent,” the congresswoman, who also spoke at the Jan. 6 rally, told WMAY radio. Miller also defended a bill she introduced — her first bill as a member of Congress. Titled the Safety and Opportunity for Girls Act, the proposal would require people in schools to use bathrooms and locker rooms and to participate in sports teams designated for their biological sex. “Democrats continue to push radical gender ideology on our children, and we must draw the line to protect women and girls,” she said, Capitol News’ Brenden Moore reports.
Mark Giangreco on his way out at ABC7 after ‘ditzy’ on-air remark: “ABC7 is working on a separation agreement with the longtime sports anchor after he jokingly referred to news anchor Cheryl Burton as ‘ditzy’ on a newscast Jan. 28, according to sources,” by Sun-Times’ Jeff Agrest.
— Policing, guns, voting rights: Historic Democratic goals hit Senate skids, by POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine, Sarah Ferris and Maya King
— White House weighs minimum wage negotiations with Republicans, by POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki and Laura Barron-Lopez
— Trump made Twitter the White House’s spiked-ball cudgel. Ron Klain wants to change that, by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago and Theodoric Meyer
— What the Andrew Cuomo saga tells us about the shallowness of modern politics, by POLITICO’s John F. Harris
WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to journalist Andy Shaw and law student Jaylin McClinton, for correctly answering that the last Illinois senator (before Dick Durbin) to head the Senate Judiciary Committee was Lyman Trumbull, who broke with his party to acquit Andrew Johnson and chaired the panel during passage of the 13th Amendment.
TODAY’s QUESTION: What was the name of the small group of women who resisted school desegregation in Chicago in the 1970s? Email to [email protected].
Federal Judge James Zagel, McLean County Board member Shayna Watchinski, Dem State Central Committee member Al Riley, state Senate Parliamentarian and Chief Legal Counsel Giovanni Randazzo, Chicagoland Chamber CEO Jack Lavin, The Prairie Group Consulting CEO Fred Lebed, Dentons law firm partner Ben Weinberg, business development leader Deborah Ziskind, and Metropolitan Group senior executive VP Kevin T. Kirkpatrick.
via Illinois Playbook https://ift.tt/2NknKhq
March 4, 2021 at 07:24AM