Happy Thursday, Illinois. With flexible work hours in flux, Thursdays are feeling like Mondays. For some folks, anyway.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle hugged President Joe Biden on the tarmac at O’Hare International Airport yesterday in what became a Democratic love fest leading up to his speech in McHenry County.
After stepping off Air Force One, Biden was greeted by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The two stood close in conversation as the mayor updated the president on the shooting yesterday morning of two ATF officials and a police officer. Biden “expressed his personal support” on the issue, according to spokeswoman Jen Psaki. Lightfoot also praised Biden “for listening to the needs of cities” and for the federal government’s plans for public safety reform, according to the mayor’s spokeswoman. Biden, in turn, said the Justice Department “would soon be in touch” about executing those plans, which include a strike force.
The president then pivoted to Preckwinkle, she later told Playbook, saying “Everyone knows what big-city mayors do but people don’t know what county leaders do and that it’s really critical.”
Preckwinkle, who admires that Biden worked as a county commissioner before he was elected to the Senate, then thanked the president for federal efforts to ramp up vaccine production and distribution. “I told him that we had six mass vaccination sites as a result of our vaccine allocation and that we couldn’t have done it without the federal government’s help and support,” she said. “I gave the president a big hug and said I’m grateful for him.”
This isn’t England, after all, where hugging royalty isn’t allowed. It’s Illinois. We’re all about the hugs.
Before speaking at McHenry County College, Biden held private meet-and-greets with Gov. J.B. Pritzker; Rep. Robin Kelly, who is also Illinois Democratic Party chair; Rep. Lauren Underwood, who hosted Biden and brought her parents along for the event; Rep. Sean Casten, Rep. Raja Krishnamorthi, Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, and Senate President Don Harmon.
“I spoke to him about his infrastructure plan and about being the new speaker because he asked me how it was going as speaker,” Welch told Playbook.
All that schmoozing led up to Biden’s speech at the community college in McHenry County — an area that twice voted for Donald Trump but also flipped to congressional seats for Underwood and Casten.
As POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki and Tina Sfondeles explain: Biden tried selling a plan “that would turn off most MAGA supporters,” by including big government, corporate tax hike, more money for climate, and free community college.
— Big applause line from Biden: "Think how life will be when it’s quicker to drive on Randall Road," he said, referring to the local trouble spot for traffic.
— Hundreds of suburban protesters, supporters line up outside MCC for Biden visit, by Daily Herald’s Madhu Krishnamurthy and John Starks
— At least 2 in custody in connection with shooting of Chicago cop, 2 federal agents on Southwest Side, by Sun-Times’ Frank Main, Jermaine Nolen, Stefano Esposito, Cheyanne M. Daniels, and Mitch Dudek
Former state Sen. Heather Steans has joined the board of Lambda Legal, the national law firm that supports LGBTQ rights.
“They’re attorneys whose judgment I trust,” said Steans, who worked closely with Lambda Legal attorneys on legislation she introduced and to legalize gay marriage in Illinois.
The organization has help lead similar efforts across the country, and most recently has fought for transgender rights. That issue is of particular importance to Steans, whose daughter identifies as trans.
“It’s an issue close to my heart,” she said.
Steans will juggle her involvement with Lambda Legal along with her work on the Steans Family Foundation, focusing on policy work that addresses racial and ethnic wealth in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood and in North Chicago. And she’s joined the Chicago Community Trust’s board.
It’s the kind of policy work that fuels government, but Steans says running for office again “is not on my agenda at the moment.”
Earlier this year, she surprised political watchers when she stepped down from her Senate seat. “I had been there 12 years. That’s a long time,” she said. “I felt I wasn’t going to continue to be effective the way I had been.”
Steans joins three other Illinoisans on Lambda Legal’s national board: Chicago attorney Diane Bell, Abbott Senior Counsel for Global Trademarks Jordan Heinz, and Evanston resident Richard Wester. Lambda Legal’s CEO is Kevin Jennings, who served as an assistant secretary of education under President Barack Obama.
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At the Thompson Center at 4:05 p.m. to join an advocate rally for immigrant and refugee rights.
Meeting with reporters via Zoom at 6:45 p.m. to talk about her trip to San Francisco.
At the North Lawndale Employment Network to address the root causes of crime and violence in underserved communities.
— Startling stat: Vaccination rates across Chicago suburbs range from under 15% to over 80%: “A WBEZ analysis of Cook County vaccination data by municipality found a stark gap between the most vaccinated suburbs and least vaccinated ones. The 10 communities with the highest vaccination rates are all majority white and affluent, while the 10 communities with the lowest vaccination rates are majority Black and low-income,” by WBEZ’s Becky Vevea, Matt Kiefer.
— First Illinois vaccine lottery winners to be drawn today: “It’s the first of nine weekly drawings being held throughout the summer as an incentive to get more people to roll up their sleeves,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout
— VP’s sorority is helping kick off a vaccination effort in Chicago, via the Chicago Crusader
Lights, camera, action: Pritzker visits Rochelle, tours Kennay Farms Distilling: Pritzker and the accompanying film crew were showcasing the distillery “for its work early in the Covid-19 pandemic when it adapted to making hand sanitizer rather than spirits. A member of Pritzker’s video team reached out to Kennay Farms Owner Rick Kennay and asked in the days before to set up a tour and interview, Aubrey Quinn, in charge of marketing at the distillery, said,” Rochelle News-Leader’s Jeff Helfrich reports.
Anthony Porter, whose case helped end death penalty in Illinois, dies: “The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said Porter died from ‘anoxic brain injury, probable opioid toxicity,’ and ruled the death an accident. Porter was exonerated in 1999 and released from prison after another man confessed to the Aug. 15, 1982 fatal shooting of two people as they sat in a park on Chicago’s South Side,” by The Associated Press.
— City’s pension debt continues to rise, increasing $1.1B in 2020, according to a city analysis: “In all, Chicago owes $32.9 billion to its four employee pension funds representing police officers, firefighters, municipal employees and laborers, according to the 2020 Certified Annual Financial Report. That is an increase of nearly 3.5 percent from 2019, according to the report,” by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Chicago has an unusual climate problem: “A balance has long existed between the city’s two great bodies of water, Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. And the changing climate is upending that balance on both ends, putting the city at risk of both surging and falling water levels,” according to a New York Times report.
— Is Chicago’s gun violence surge due to bail reform? Top cop still can’t prove it: Superintendent David Brown “is not alone among Chicago-area officials attacking bail reforms and judicial responses to the pandemic — Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Sheriff Tom Dart have also taken part. But, as the summer intensifies the violence and the superintendent’s policing strategies face more questions, the top cop seems increasingly desperate to provide a simple explanation,” by WBEZ’s Chip Mitchell.
— CPS to offer students COVID shots starting next week, will ask their vaccination status next month: “CPS said Wednesday that students and their family members ages 12 and up will be able to get shots at three school sites starting Monday,” by Sun-Times’ Nichole Shaw.
— Chicago gets its first new bank in more than 10 years: “First Women’s Bank, launched by former Obama administration official Marianne Markowitz and backed by Billie Jean King, raised more than $30 million in equity and will open its doors in the early fall,” by Crain’s Steve Daniels.
— Co-founders of local nonprofit recognized for work helping survivors of sexual violence: “Healing to Action will receive $75,000 a year for three years from the Fund for New Leadership, which has recognized the group’s co-founders in its first class of fellows,” by Sun-Times’ Nina Molina.
— The New York Times features: The footwork film being projected on Merchandise Mart.
— Over $65M in stimulus money went unclaimed in Illinois: “Americans refused, paid back or failed to cash 1,315,717 checks of the first-round $1,200 stimulus checks issued under President Trump’s administration at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Internal Revenue Service records obtained by the KDVR Data Desk,” via WGN radio.
— Springfield tabs $200,000 in grant money to convert parking spaces into ‘parklets:’ CARES Act funds will be used “to cover material expenses for restaurant and beverage operators willing to convert street-side parking spaces into al fresco seating,” reports the State Journal-Register’s Natalie Morris.
— Galesburg, an American crossroad, tunes out feuding Congress: “In this town in the heart of the Midwest, the fights in Washington seem distant. On cable TV, Democrats and Republicans feud over things like abolishing the filibuster in the Senate, creating a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol or whether Democrats should use a complicated budget process to ram through President Joe Biden’s agenda. But in interviews with close to 30 people over three days in Galesburg, conversations are dominated by issues much closer to home, like rising local crime, racial strife and whether life can return to an approximation of normal after a deadly pandemic,” by the Associated Press’ Thomas Beaumont.
— In Lake Michigan’s first national sanctuary is the story of a superhighway of vessels: “With the designation comes federal funding allocated by Congress for use in education, infrastructure and public outreach…[and] access to increased mapping capabilities that some hope will aid in finding yet-to-be-discovered shipwrecks,” by Tribune’s Talia Soglin.
— Another twist: New Arlington bidder has history with Churchill partner Neil Bluhm: “There are now four confirmed bidders for the Arlington property: the Bears, Glenstar, UrbanStreet and Endeavor Properties, a group headed by former AP president Roy Arnold,” by Daily Herald’s Jim O’Donnell.
— Cook County workers hold sit-in outside Preckwinkle’s office, mark 13th day on strike: “No talks are scheduled between SEIU Local 73 and Cook County negotiators,” by Sun-Times’ Nichole Shaw
— Former Lake County coroner’s deputy charged with recording juvenile while notifying them of relative’s death: “Former Coroner’s Deputy Dana Dingman, 36, of Grayslake, has been charged with official misconduct and violation of the state’s eavesdropping laws for allegedly making a surreptitious video on a cellphone, Coroner Jennifer Banek said Wednesday,” by Lake County News-Sun’s Clifford Ward.
Illinois ends participation in Midwest Student Exchange Program, which saved students millions on tuition: A spokeswoman for the Illinois Board of Higher Education said in a statement that no Illinois college or university is “currently opted in” to reciprocity program, reports Tribune’s Maggie Prosser.
— Illinois Policy Institute is branching out to do recruitment: The libertarian-leaning group will send out out “at minimum tens of thousands of postcards to households the organization identifies as ‘high propensity voters’ who also align with the think tank on issues of ‘economic freedom,’ seeking out those who may be interested in running for office,” reports NPR Illinois’ Hannah Meisel.
— The biggest donor to the so-called ‘Sedition Caucus’ is in Chicago: “Boeing is the largest corporate giver to groups backing Congress members who voted against certifying Joe Biden’s election. And that’s drawing a rebuke from one prominent watchdog,” reports Crain’s Greg Hinz.
— Robin Kelly embarks on a listening tour: "I want to hear what Democrats in a variety of areas have to say," said the congresswoman and head of the Illinois Democratic Party during a gathering at the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 25 union hall. "I want people to know we hear you; we’re interested in what you have to say. We’re listening, and we appreciate those that have been working for the Democratic Party. We want to recruit more people, and we want to bring people back into the party that might have slipped away." Quad City-Times’ Sarah Hayden reports.
State Sen. Darren Bailey, a Republican candidate for governor, has a new radio ad out playing on conservative talk shows statewide. The ad opens with a toilet flushing and an announcer saying “that’s the sound of Illinois jobs being flushed away because of Gov. Pritzker’s liberal policies.”
— Kids and tax cuts: Why Dems need a sales pitch to seal a major Biden win, by POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris
— Trump plunges GOP’s anti-tech crusade deeper into the courts, by POLITICO’s Cristiano Lima
— Will a former cop’s winning message in NYC resonate for Democrats nationwide? POLITICO’s Erin Durkin, Lisa Kashinsky and Tina Nguyen report
— As Bezos called for tax hikes, Amazon lobbied to keep its tax bill low, by POLITICO’s Theodoric Meyer
— The billionaire playbook: How sports owners use their teams to avoid millions in taxes: “The history of team ownership as a way to avoid taxes goes back almost a century. Bill Veeck, owner of the Cleveland Indians in the 1940s and later the Chicago White Sox, stated it plainly in his memoir: ‘Look, we play the Star Spangled Banner before every game. You want us to pay income taxes too?’” by ProPublica.
— Office stat: 74 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs expect to reduce office space, according to Fortune
Today at 6:30 p.m. State Rep. La Shawn Ford and Chicago Ald. Gilbert Villegas discuss social equity in the cannabis industry during a virtual town hall. Sign-up is free.
— Illinois Supreme Court appoints two to subcircuit vacancies: David L. Kelly has been appointed to the Portman-Brown vacancy in the 5th Subcircuit, and John Wellington Wilson was to the 1st Subcircuit, Jack Leyhane reports on his legal blog.
— Elizabeth “Liz” Gorman named to the Regional Transportation Authority Board. The former Cook County commissioner received “overwhelming support” from the Cook County Board sub-committee that oversees RTA appointments, according to a statement.
— Rick Brown, a decorated U.S. Army vet, ex-Illinois National Guardsman, social worker, and Springfield resident, has been tapped to be the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health’s new director of public policy.
— David Fleming is now managing partner for the Chicago office of Crowell & Moring LLP. He most recently was a shareholder at Brinks Gilson and Lione.
— Kevin Borgia is now running government affairs for SunVest Solar, a developer of Community Solar and Commercial/Industrial projects. He previously was manager of Policy & Government Affairs at Canadian Solar Inc.
WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to attorney Graham Grady (he’s on a roll!) and Carl Gutierrez, legislative liaison with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, for correctly answering that Patrick Prendergast, who assassinated Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison Sr., was under the delusion that if he backed Harrison’s re-election he would be appointed corporation counsel. He was found guilty even though he was represented by Clarence Darrow.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the first and only Chicago mayor to be sworn in at Navy Pier? I’ll take the 10th person to answer correctly for this. Email to [email protected]
Ald. Patrick Thompson (11th), Razorfish VP Jerry Lawrence, Cubs community affairs EVP Michael Lufrano, former SEIU Healthcare Illinois/Indiana President Keith Kelleher, Democratic and pro-Israel political consultant Steve Sheffey, Wall Street Journal higher education reporter Doug Belkin, and WBEZ political reporter Dave McKinney.
July 8, 2021 at 07:17AM