Happy Wednesday, Illinois. With so much attention on yesterday’s Veep visit, you’d think we weren’t accustomed to having a White House visitor in town.
Kamala Harris made her first vice-presidential visit to Chicago on Tuesday to help Mayor Lori Lightfoot call attention to the city’s efforts to vaccinate residents in underserved communities.
The VP toured a mass vaccination site at the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399 hall where essential union workers can get their shots. Harris called it “a model for the country” and praised the Chicago Federation of Labor for creating a space where “the dignity of work is recognized.”
Harris’ visit came on the heels of a White House announcement that Americans 16 and older will be eligible for vaccines by April 19 rather than May 1. And it coincided with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcing it will send another $124 million to Illinois to boost vaccination efforts — with about $33 million of that going to Chicago.
Harris called on those who have been vaccinated to encourage others who are hesitant — “your aunties and uncles, and your grandparents and kids” — to do the same.
Joining her at the podium were Lightfoot, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, and Rep. Danny Davis.
Harris packed a lot into her whirlwind trip.
Upon arriving at Midway Airport, she was greeted by Pritzker and Lightfoot, and spent some time with businesswoman Desiree Rogers, the former social secretary in the Obama White House. Harris and Rogers have been friends “for a very long time,” Rogers told Playbook. “She is terrific and it was great to catch up.”
Harris and Lightfoot had some one-on-one time after the vaccination visit.
Then the VP jumped in a motorcade car with Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx for a quick stop at Brown Sugar Bakery, a woman-owned business on the South Side.
Stratton and Harris are bonded by their membership in the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and Harris and Foxx became connected as prosecutors. “She’s my friend and mentor, but I called her Madame Vice President,” Foxx told Playbook after their visit. “We talked about how surreal it was that we were traveling to the South Side of Chicago in a vice presidential motorcade.”
Harris’ staff pre-ordered a slice of German chocolate cake from the bakery for her before she returned to Midway for her flight to D.C. Harris said it’s her favorite and a birthday staple. Locals know, of course, that it’s Brown Sugar’s caramel cake that’s to-die-for.
Along with the sweet, there was some confusion after Harris left the vax site. Lightfoot missed a planned press conference while she was talking to the VP — and she wasn’t part of the bakery trip either. (Who needs those calories anyway.) Protesters, meanwhile, all but drowned out Davis and others who tried to forge ahead with the news conference. Lightfoot took questions from reporters a little later in City Hall.
AMUSING SIDE NOTE: During her visit to the vaccination site, Harris asked Lucio Polanco, a window washer with SEIU Local 1, what the tallest building he’d ever washed. His answer: Trump Tower. That prompted Durbin to (half) joke: “Bring the sign down.”
SUBURBAN WINNERS AND LOSERS: Democratic state Rep. Kelly Burke defeated independent Shawn Good in the race for mayor of Evergreen Park on Tuesday. And Rep. Thaddeus Jones was elected mayor of Calumet City, according to the most recent suburban election results (broken down by the Daily Herald by county). Jones did not have an opponent. He and Burke join a select club of state lawmakers who hold second jobs as local elected officials.
Two suburban mayors caught up in federal investigations appear headed to new terms in municipal elections, reports Tribune’s John Keilman. In the Village of Crestwood, Mayor Louis Presta leads challenger Joseph Galason. Presta had a strong showing in spite of corruption charges leveled against him. And in the Village of Lyons, Chris Getty was ahead of Richard Gatz Jr. for village president. Getty has also faced federal scrutiny as part of a wide-ranging corruption investigation.
In Orland Park, incumbent Mayor Keith Pekau edged out challenger and predecessor Daniel McLaughlin. Pekau defeated McLaughlin four years ago.
Oak Park mayor’s race: Independent Vicki Scaman defeated Democrat Cate Readling.
Blue Island: Mayor Domingo Vargas lost to challenger Fred Bilotto.
Dolton: Tiffany Henyard was elected mayor of Dolton after defeating Ronnie Burge.
Maywood: Nathaniel Booker was elected mayor after defeating incumbent Mayor Edwenna Perkins.
Norridge: Incumbent town President Daniel Tannhauser defeated Tom Benigno, who has served as Illinois Deputy Secretary of State for 20 years.
Des Plaines mayor’s race: Andrew Goczkowski, an aide to Rep. Jan Schakowsky, defeated Mike Charewicz.
And the Rich Township supervisor race was interesting for the behind-the-scenes players. Incumbent Al Riley, who was supported by congresswoman and Democratic Party Chair Robin Kelly, lost to Calvin Jordan, who was backed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker and former state Sen. Mike Hastings.
Incumbents come out on top in DuPage mayoral races, by Daily Herald’s Lauren Rohr
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At Altgeld Branch Library at 9:30 a.m. to announce library services and youth employment opportunities through One Summer Chicago.
At BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford at 10 a.m. to announce economic development investments. Then at Ellis Elementary also in Rockford at 12:30 p.m. to discuss K-12 students returning to the classroom.
No official public events.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Tuesday reported 13 deaths and 2,931 new confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 21,395 fatalities and 1,261,667 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from March 30 through April 5 is 3.9 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 5.2 percent.
— State to receive $124M in federal funding to expand efforts: “Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations continued to rise Tuesday as state officials announced that additional resources were being deployed in the state’s vaccination efforts,” by Capitol News’ Tim Kirsininkas.
— Rush is on to vaccinate Illinois college students before they leave campus for summer break. But will the shots be required for them to come back? Tribune’s Elyssa Cherney reports.
— Owner of downstate ‘super-spreader’ bar says he followed the law: ‘You can’t make them wear masks’: “Owner Ryan Garrett said of the ’30 to 40′ that attended the grand opening, ‘most were just close friends or acquaintances.’ No one was turned away if they refused to wear a mask or social distance,” by Sun-Times’ Andrew Sullender.
— Toddler critically wounded in road-rage shooting on Lake Shore Drive near Grant Park: “Police said Tuesday evening that Area Three detectives were questioning a person in connection with the shooting,” by Sun-Times” Mitch Dudek, David Struett, Madeline Kenney, Sam Kelly, and Fran Spielman.
— How Waste Management was ousted from city’s recycling program: “The company lost the city’s Blue Cart contract after a BGA investigation revealed how the company charged the city twice for processing materials in recycling bins,” by the Better Government Association’s Madison Hopkins
— Community members renew calls for release of police video after shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo: “The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which is investigating whether the officer who pulled the trigger was justified in shooting the teen, has said it plans to release the video,” by Tribune’s Sarah Freishtat.
Feds put spotlight on Cook County Commissioner Luis Arroyo Jr. in sprawling corruption probe: “Federal prosecutors issued a subpoena earlier this year to the Illinois Department of Revenue, which processes tax returns for the state. The subpoena, obtained by WBEZ through the state’s open records law, requested that the agency release tax returns for Arroyo, his lobbying firm and his wife, Desiree.
“Arroyo is the son of former Democratic State Rep. Luis Arroyo, who was first charged in 2019 for allegedly offering bribes to an unnamed Illinois state senator in exchange for supporting legislation that would benefit Arroyo’s lobbying client, a sweepstakes gaming business. He has pleaded not guilty,” by WBEZ’s Tony Arnold.
County Clerk Yarbrough won’t run for secretary of state because of husband’s health: “Henderson Yarbrough was diagnosed with prostate cancer and, while it was caught early, the county clerk said running for a statewide position ‘isn’t something I’m interested in doing while he’s in his therapy,’” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— Lightfoot slams firefighter pension bill signed by Pritzker: “Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the bill ‘validates a Springfield practice of cutting backroom deals without full transparency and debate,’” by Fox’s Brie Stimson.
— Who loses in state’s war on consumer lenders? “Faced with loan caps, high-rate lenders sharply reduce their offerings,” reports Crain’s Steve Daniels.
— New law will make it easier for Westlake Hospital to reopen: “House Speaker Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch and state Rep. Kathleen Willis led the fight to stop Westlake from closing. They then vowed to enact legislation like this to help get the safety-net hospital reopened,” by Sun-Times’ Manny Ramos.
— Senate panel approves proposals to help nursing home patients: “Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) said social isolation in nursing homes associates with a 50 percent increase in developing dementia. She said the isolation also led to a 29 percent increase in risk of heart disease. Senate Bill 2137 would create new rules and provide technology to facilities so residents can spend time with family virtually or watch an online church service,” by WGEM’s Ali Rasper.
— A nod for Juneteenth to become a state holiday: “A state senate committee approved making June 19 Juneteenth National Freedom Day. State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, a Democrat from Maywood, sponsored the bill, which would create a paid holiday for state employees. She said the day is a milestone for Black Americans that should be celebrated and used to educate youth,” via WCBU.
— Bill would expand tax breaks for filmmakers in Illinois: “If made into law, the bill would expand the state’s film tax and establish the Illinois Production Workforce Development Fund to help train people for jobs in the film industry. The bill also requires 50% of funds be allocated to minority-owned organizations or programs where at least 50% of the program participants are minorities,” by Alton Daily News’ Kevin Bessler.
— Opinion: A map of Illinois political districts designed to discourage the casual tourist: “It would be nice to believe that once the redistricting process is completed, you and I will be able to look at the map and exclaim, ‘I can see patterns that are logical!’ I don’t think it’s going to happen,” writes Phil Kadner in the Sun-Times.
— Former state Sen. Annazette Collins pleads not guilty to federal tax charges: She’s been charged with lying on her personal income taxes and failing to file tax returns for her lobbying and consulting firm. “The indictment made public last week was the latest brought in connection with the ongoing federal corruption probe into an alleged bribery scheme by Commonwealth Edison to try to influence then-House Speaker Michael Madigan. Collins’ attorney calls the charges “a blatant attempt to squeeze his client and get her to cooperate in the ComEd case, even though she ‘knows nothing whatsoever’ of that alleged scheme,” by Tribune’s Megan Crepeau and Jason Meisner.
— Former Vernon Hills deputy chief arraigned on official misconduct and theft charges: “Patrick Zimmerman, 51 formally pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he wrote fake traffic tickets to earn money from a state grant program,” reports the Pioneer Press’ Clifford Ward.
Federal funds seen as key to reviving public transit: “Transportation experts say Metra lost as much as 90 percent of its riders at the peak of the pandemic, while the Chicago Transit Authority saw ridership drop around 70 percent. Such a sharp fall in riders inevitably meant a huge loss of revenue, but COVID-19 relief measures from the federal government have provided funds to support vital operations, according to Kate Lowe, associate professor for urban planning and policy at the University of Illinois Chicago,” by WTTW’s Paul Caine.
THE FIFTY: While Illinois is now in its second year of legalized cannabis, the rest of the country is just warming up to weed. More than 40 percent of Americans now live in states that have embraced full legalization, reports POLITICO’s Mona Zhang.
— Schumer is thinking big — gridlocked Senate be damned, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett
— Biden wants to cement a governing majority. His Build Back Better bill is his plan to do it, by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago
— Corporate America tears down Biden’s infrastructure plan, by POLITICO’s Ben White
— How Matt Gaetz’s relationship with a scandal-prone local tax collector got him into big trouble, by POLITICO’s Marc Caputo
— Sean Anderson has been named comms director for Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. Anderson previously served as a principal at Kivvit, where he led the design and development of communications and public affairs strategies. Before that, Anderson was comms director for Amara Enyia’s campaign for mayor, and managed marketing, digital media, and executive communications for World Business Chicago.
… Jaclyn Driscoll becomes press spokesperson for the speaker. Driscoll is a former Jefferson City statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio. She joined the politics team in 2019 after spending two years as a statehouse reporter in Springfield for NPR Illinois.
— Edelman names Lisa Osborne Ross as new U.S. chief: The public relations giant says she will be the first Black woman to lead a major PR firm. Sun-Times’ David Roeder
— Former Republican Rep. Bobby Schilling dies after bout of cancer: “Bobby Schilling, a businessman who served in Congress representing Illinois’ 17th District from 2011 to 2013, lost his bid for a second term to U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, in the Nov. 2012…and again in 2014. Schilling moved to LeClaire in 2017 and became a resident of Iowa, making him eligible to run for Congress in southeast Iowa’s 2nd District,” by the Argus-Dispatch’s Tom Barton.
— Harold Winston, public defender’s supervisor who also led U.S. Chess Federation, dead at 75: “The Naperville resident had been a frequent college chess opponent of future ‘Game of Thrones’ author George R.R. Martin, who featured an archrival in his story ‘Unsound Variations,’” writes Sun-Times’ Maureen O’Donnell.
— Former Bloomington Mayor Richard ‘Rich’ D. Buchanan: “He was elected to the Bloomington City Council, serving two terms, followed by two terms as Mayor. His passion for community service was historic and he became regarded as a listener, a facilitator and one who made a difference,” via the Pantagraph.
Today at 10 a.m.: The state House Redistricting Committee meets to discuss the upcoming drawing of legislative and congressional maps. Here’s a list of additional meetings.
TUESDAY’s ANSWER: We stumped you! The last father-son combination to serve simultaneously in the Illinois General Assembly was Edwin Dale of Champaign and Sam Dale of Fairfield — grandfather and great-grandfather of WTAX Radio’s Dave Dahl.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who’s the former congressman whose mom hosted a Chicago radio program for more than 50 years? Email to [email protected].
Former first lady of Illinois and PR pro Jayne Thompson, state Treasurer’s Office digital director Mike Sobczak, and Young Invincibles Midwest engagement manager Troy Alim.
April 7, 2021 at 07:43AM