Good Monday morning, Illinois. I hope your weekend was perfectly aligned. h/t to Bronagh Tumulty of WGN News for this “Chicagohenge” moment.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, facing an extraordinarily busy week in Congress, made a trip to Illinois on Sunday to champion Rep. Danny Davis’ re-election campaign — and voice her support for state lawmakers as they embark on drawing congressional maps.
“She gave a real message of party unity,” Rep. Kam Buckner, chair of the Illinois House Black Caucus, told Playbook. “She was very congratulatory of the work we’ve done here in Illinois and she was staunchly supportive of Congressman Davis and the status and stature he holds in the House. She said we need to send him back because these next two years are going to be pivotal.”
Davis, the longtime rep of the 7th Congressional District, has been targeted by the Justice Democrats who are ostensibly working to replace centrist Dems with liberal candidates. The organization is backing activist Kina Collins, who lost to Davis by 46 points last year in a four-way primary.
It’s an unusual fight for Justice Democrats to pick. They helped oust Dan Lipinski last year, one of the last Democrats in Congress opposed to abortion rights. But Davis is a progressive in his own right who most recently was a co-sponsor of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Davis also voted for same-sex marriage in 2015 and against the Iraq War in 2002. And he co-sponsored the Green New Deal bill.
Pelosi’s visit to Chicago indicates Democrats are taking the challenge to Davis seriously, who she said was an important player in Congress as chairman of a House Ways and Means subcommittee and “a partner” in Biden’s Build Back Better plan.
Pelosi might also have made the trip to Illinois to show support for the Democratic-led General Assembly, which is working to redraw congressional maps. Pelosi would surely like to see Rep. Lauren Underwood get more of a cushion to get re-elected.
About a hundred high-profile Illinois Democrats joined Pelosi and Davis for the reception at the Chicago South Loop Hotel, a Black woman-owned hotel.
We hear the California Democrat and Davis spent time answering questions about efforts to address the changes Democrats want to make to the child-tax credit rules, the Biden administration’s aggressive tactics to control Haitian migrants at the border, and the pervasive issue of violence. Though the real reason was to remind Democrats that the party backs Davis.
Among the attendees: House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Rep. Mary Flowers, Rep. La Shawn Ford, Rep. Lamont Robinson, Forest Park Mayor Rory Hoskins, Chicago City Council Black Caucus Leader Ald. Jason Ervin, Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, Ald. Pat Dowell, and Metropolitan Water Board President Kari Steele.
There’s a Biden parade in Illinois: Illinois is playing a role in helping the White House muster support for its massive $3.5 trillion social spending plan and $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package.
President Joe Biden has been sending a steady stream of emissaries to Illinois in person and virtually to showcase efforts to address climate change, education policies and child care initiatives. And Biden himself will be in Illinois Wednesday highlighting Covid-19 mandates that work.
“I think there is a certain part of the Biden administration that looks at Illinois and says ‘Here are a lot of things we’d like to accomplish that are getting done at the state level and they’re popular and successful.’ So it’s a good place to go and point out that the pieces of our agenda that the White House is trying to get passed actually work,” Anne Caprara, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s chief of staff, told Playbook.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona made three stops in Illinois last week as part of a “Return to School Road Trip” and David Kamin, deputy director of the National Economic Council, joined Pritzker on Friday for a Zoom call with reporters to pitch Biden’s plan for universal preschool for 3- and 4-year-old and child care tax credits — issues Pritzker has advocated for for years. Decidedly friendly territory, Veep Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden, first gentleman Douglas Emhoff and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have stopped by in recent months, too.
Funny to think it wasn’t so long ago that Illinois was the punching bag for Donald Trump’s White House. Now, Illinois is being setup as a model for how Democratic government can run.
“Illinois epitomizes a state that has its act together on energy, the economy, and Covid-19 mandates,” longtime public affairs consultant Kevin Conlon who co-chaired the Illinois Democratic campaign for Hillary Clinton in 2008 and 2016.
Illinois even appears to be edging out New York and California in helping shape the White House message. That could change as newly named New York Gov. Kathy Hochul gets acclimated and California Gov. Gavin Newsom gets some distance from the recall election he was caught up in, in part because he stumbled on Covid protocols.
In Illinois, meanwhile, Pritzker has signed off on nearly every part of the national Democratic platform, from raising the minimum wage to a massive infrastructure bill (Pritzker calls it the Rebuild Illinois plan) to clean-energy legislation and legalizing cannabis. He’s also enforced Covid protocols, maintained good relationships (for the most part) with his legislative counterparts and has managed to stay popular in the polls.
Republicans will of course push back at every point, but for the Biden White House, those are all wins.
“Traditionally presidents want to be at a place where they know they won’t walk into a situation that’s going to blow up politically and take away from the message of the day,” said Chicago Democratic political consultant Becky Carroll. There’s no Andrew Cuomo situation here, she adds.
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— Childhood Covid-19 cases fall, as experts say student quarantines, testing are curbing virus spread: “But while the recent dip in the number of children testing positive for the virus is good news for parents and educators, some parents expressed frustration with the quarantine process for students with a possible exposure,” by Tribune’s Karen Ann Cullotta, Megan Jones and Joe Mahr.
— Geneva, St. Charles school workers denied temporary restraining order in Covid-19 vaccine, testing case, by Daily Herald’s Susan Sarkauskas
— Park Ridge parents sue District 64 over quarantine demand, by Daily Herald’s Russell Lissau
BARACK IS BACK: Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will visit Chicago tomorrow to break ground on the Obama Presidential Center in historic Jackson Park. Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will join the Obamas for the small groundbreaking ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, which will be livestreamed at www.obama.org.
— Pritzker signs revised Democrat-drawn legislative districts into law, though court challenges continue: “Republicans and several voting rights groups had asked the Democratic governor to veto the latest map plan, contending the vote by Democrats to approve it in an Aug. 31 special session came too quickly to adequately assess its effects on the state’s political, racial and ethnic makeup,” by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.
— Chinatown leaders eye Daley family’s 11th Ward stronghold for first Asian American-majority city ward: “A proposed redrawing of Chicago’s ward map would create that majority by combining parts of Bridgeport, Armour Square and McKinley Park in a new 11th Ward,” by Sun-Times’ Mark Brown.
A Dance of the Alphas: Reporter Derrick Blakley dives into the strained relationships between Illinois governors and Chicago mayors. Former Gov. Pat Quinn, for example, couldn’t hide his opinions about former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, revealing their turbulent relationship.
— New energy law is a power surge of equity efforts: “It is going to 1) create literally tens of thousands of jobs in underserved and environmental justice communities. It’s going to create opportunities for those that want to get into the space from a job creation, entrepreneurship perspective. CEJA is also going to reduce, significantly, the amount of pollution in underserved communities,” Delmar Gillus of the Chicago environmental equity nonprofit Elevate Energy tells WTTW’s Amanda Vinicky.
… Commentary: Republicans call energy deal the ‘same old story, write Brad Halbrook, Dan Caulkins and Chris Miller.
— States are at a disadvantage in the race to recruit cybersecurity pros: “State governments are regular targets for cybercriminals, drawn by the troves of personal data within agencies and computer networks that are essential to patrolling highways, maintaining election systems and other key state services. Notable hits since 2019 include the Washington state auditor, Illinois’ attorney general, Georgia’s Department of Public Safety and computer servers supporting much of Louisiana’s state agencies,” by The Associated Press’ Kathleen Foody.
— East Moline’s plan to pay off fire, police pensions tanks city’s credit score, by WQAD’s Shelby Kluver.
— Englewood’s population, housing stock plummets, 2020 census data shows, by Sun-Times’ Manny Ramos.
— Where CDOT has installed, or is currently building, bikeways this year, according to Streetsblog’s John Greenfield
— GREAT CHICAGO FIRE 150th anniversary: First-hand accounts, including this tidbit from Thomas Foster, who described the second day the fire blazed: “It was a grand sight but hellish in the extreme; streets, houses, trees, and everything in one grand furnace. It was not a blaze like the night before, but a white melting heat. Volumes of flames were cut off from the seat of the fire itself and carried over into other streets. There was a perfect shower of sparks, all red and glowing. The fall of them was like a fall of golden snow, and as far as the eye could reach upward, the air was filled with them; not only sparks, but burning brands of wood from six inches to two feet long, and from one inch thick to six inches. This may seem incredible but it is true.” Robert Loerzel reports in Chicago magazine.
… How the fire created today’s Chicago, architecture and all, by Crain’s Dennis Rodkin.
— New class of Cook County associate judges more racially diverse than past years: “Twelve of the 22 new associate judges announced Thursday are people of color, according to Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans’ office, and the group is evenly split between women and men,” by Injustice Watch’s Aviva Waldman, Carlos Ballesteros and Josh McGhee.
— State yanks Elgin hospital’s trauma standing in wake of anesthesiologist shortage, by Elgin Courier-News’ Gloria
— Evanston reparations program gets 17 applications in first day, by Evanston Now’s Bill Smith.
— As historic Arlington Park crosses the finish line, horse racing workers wonder how they’ll fill the void: “Arlington officials announced they will lay off 237 employees as part of what they called the track’s ‘permanent’ closure on its last day of racing Saturday. Industry members say the closure is the end of a long, slow decline at the track, which used to employ more than 1,000 workers,” by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.
… A look back through headlines and photos of Arlington International Racecourse, by Tribune’s Kori Rumore and Marianne Mather.
— Supreme Court Justice Michael Burke is set to announce his candidacy for the Illinois Supreme Court’s vacant 3rd District seat today. Burke was appointed to the state’s high court in 2020 to fill the vacancy left by 2nd District Justice Robert Thomas, who retired. However, Burke’s residence has been redistricted to the Supreme Court’s 3rd district, so he’s now running for that seat.
— Josina Morita launched her bid for Cook County commissioner of the 13th District yesterday. Morita is a commissioner with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. If elected, Morita would make history as the first Asian American woman to serve on the Cook County Board. When she was first elected MWRD commissioner in 2016, Morita became the first Asian American woman elected to a countywide board in Cook County. She’s running for the seat now held by Commissioner Larry Suffredin, who announced recently that he would not seek re-election. Morita’s campaign says she’s received endorsements from more than 50 state and local elected officials, including Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinckle.
— ENDORSEMENT: Former IL-13 candidate Erik Jones has endorsed Nikki Budzinski in the 2022 Democratic primary. Jones is a former Illinois assistant attorney general who ran for the job in 2018.
We asked how you can tell the election season has kicked in: “People are already asking when yard signs will be available,” says Dan Kovats, executive director of the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association.
Today’s question: What Covid practices do you think you’ll continue even after life returns to normal? Email at [email protected].
Some cannabis firms see ‘disaster’ in federal legalization: “Greenlighting marijuana for interstate trade would open new business opportunities but also expose existing state markets to a frenzy of national competitors,” by POLITICO’s Natalie Fertig.
— Cook County sheriff takes state officials to court over stalled prison transfers: “Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has been asking prison officials for months to take in more than 500 people who should be in state custody, saying continuing to house them at the jail is straining his ability to contain Covid-19. But officials at the Illinois Department of Corrections have said they can’t take in transfers quicker without risking the virus spreading at state prisons,” by Injustice Watch’s Carlos Ballesteros and Chloe Hilles.
— Prison sentence for former Kankakee water official, 2022,” by Kankakee Daily Journal’s Jeff Bonty.
— Jurors weigh complex racketeering case against R. Kelly in New York as the superstar singer awaits his legal fate, by Tribune’s Jason Meisner and Megan Crepeau
OPA! Public relations pro Tamara Edwards and Rock Fuse and Connelly associate John Giokaris tied the knot Saturday at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago with 75 of their family and close friends cheering them on. The two met while attending a 2018 congressional debate between Sean Casten and Peter Roskam. At the time, Edwards was a D.C. staffer for Rep. Adam Kinzinger and Giokaris was a legal analyst for Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Dan Patlak, who also was on hand for the wedding celebration. The reception was at Beatnik on the River. There was line dancing! Also attending: J.T. Mackey, John DeBlasio, Heather Holmes, Ashvin Lad, Arsiak Vartenian, and parents, of course, Paul and Christine Edwards, and Isabelle and Demetrios Giokaris. Pic and pic!
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority raised more than $2.1 million in its latest fundraiser to benefit historically black colleges and universities. The Chicago-based international sorority’s annual HBCU Impact Day is part of a four-year $10 million fundraising goal to help promote HBCUs. VP Kamala Harris has helped put AKA in the headlines recently. AKA was her college sorority at Howard University, which is where AKA started in 1908.
Jennifer Sanchez starts today as director of communications for Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi. Sanchez has been public information officer for Cook County since 2014, directing the digital strategy/voice behind the @CookCountyGov and county Board President @ToniPreckwinkle social media accounts.
— Joe Biden, welcome to the thunderdome: president works the phones hoping to get Dems to pass his domestic agenda, by POLITICO’s Natasha Korecki and Laura Barron-Lopez
— Covert Postal Service unit probed Jan. 6 social media, by POLITICO’s Betsy Woodruff Swan
— Pandemic relief brought economic security to millions. Some lawmakers see lasting lessons, by POLITICO’s Megan Cassella
— Election leaves Germany in limbo, by POLITICO’s Matthew Karnitschnig
— Today at 11:30 a.m.: Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown headlines a discussion hosted by the City Club of Chicago. The event is in person from Maggiano’s Banquets and will be livestreamed. Registration required
— Tonight at 5 p.m.: Senate President Don Harmon headlines a fundraiser for state Rep. Mike Halpin at Porter Kitchen & Deck in Chicago. Halpin is running for a state Senate seat.
— Tuesday at 6 p.m.: After School Matters hosts the 30th Anniversary Gala: “Shaping Our Future,” a 30-minute virtual fundraiser that’s free for viewing and will showcase student performers. Funds raised will support After School Matters’ mission to provide “world-class programming” for Chicago teens, according to the organization, which notes that it’s served more than 350,000 Chicago teens since 1991.
— Tuesday at 7 p.m.: A forum featuring secretary of state candidates will address technology and how it can be used to improve the statewide office. Hosts: Greater Palatine Area Democrats, Illinois Sixth Congressional Democrats, Wheeling Township Democrats, Elk Grove Township Democrats, Barrington Area Democrats, and Northwest Suburban Organizing for Action. The forum will be at the Palatine Public Library in Palatine. So far, Ald. Pat Dowell, Ald. David Moore, and Chicago Clerk Anna Valencia have committed to attending.
FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Strategic Advocacy Group’s Mike Grady and journalist Andy Shaw for correctly answering that President Abraham Lincoln held the patent for a contraption that lifts boats over shoals.
JLL International Director Meredith Sweeney O’Connor, and Lou Weisbach, businessman and former Clinton-Gore era Dem fundraiser. And belated happy birthday to Jessica Fuentes O’Neill, a partner at Stricklin & Associates, who celebrated Sunday.
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September 27, 2021 at 07:35AM