The VP and the Blues Brothers bridge

https://ift.tt/1Bp6D5C

Happy Thursday, Illinois. The Illinois General Assembly has returned for its lame duck session, though nothing’s more lame than what’s happening in D.C. Still no speaker!

CHICAGO — The bridge made famous in the “Blues Brothers” movie served as the backdrop to Vice President Kamala Harris’ announcement Wednesday that $144 million in federal monies will refurbish it and three other bridges on the Calumet River.

Appropriate given the crazy political day: The bridge work is part of a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure program being rolled out by the Democratic-run White House — coincidentally right when Republicans in Congress are flailing. (More on that below.)

On a mission from God: President Joe Biden hit the road, too, to promote infrastructure work in Kentucky along the Ohio River with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, whom Biden called a friend. It could be a familiar bro-mance, according to POLITICO’s Adam Cancryn, Marianne LeVine and Hailey Fuchs. (Visions of Jake and Elwood here.)

In Chicago at Crowley’s Yacht Yard near the Calumet River, Harris was joined by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Sen. Dick Durbin and Gary, Ind., Mayor Jerome Prince along with dozens of union and transportation leaders from across the state.

What it all means: Harris said the Calumet River bridge “represents a very simple point: When we invest in our infrastructure, we invest in our economy, we invest in America’s future — a better future for workers, businesses, families and communities. It’s all connected.”

 Even better, she says, it means jobs.

Something fishy: After the event, Harris stopped by the famed Calumet Fisheries restaurant just west of the bridge to pick up a few pounds of smoked trout, including pepper garlic, a pound of salmon and some fried oysters. “We knew she was coming. She was nice and said thank you and how she appreciates us,” restaurant manager Javier Magallanes told Playbook after Harris and her Secret Service detail had departed for Midway Airport.

Sun-Times’ take on Harris’ visit, by Tina Sfonfdeles, who was pool reporter for the chilly assignment.

BACK IN SPRINGFIELD: Lawmakers have returned to the Capitol for a lame duck session, and they’re still in discussions about how to tackle the assault weapons ban legislation that Rep. Bob Morgan is championing.

New polling: Giffords, the gun violence prevention group founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, says its polling shows views on assault weapons fall along party lines, with Democrats supporting a ban and many Republicans opposing it. Some questions in the poll might indicate the challenges lawmakers are facing as they consider the legislation.

There’s overwhelming support for “requiring people to report when their guns are stolen.” It’s a baseline question since it’s already a law. But that support dips when it comes to strengthening the background checks process and allowing law enforcement to temporarily take guns away from a person who poses an immediate threat to themselves or others. Determining those criteria are what lawmakers are haggling on during the lame duck session. Here’s the full polling analysis.

To the letter: Advocates, meanwhile, are running a full court press on state lawmakers to pass a ban on assault weapons. G-PAC and other national and local gun violence prevention groups have written an open letter to lawmakers saying, “enough is enough” and calling for passage of the legislation.

If you’re Dan Akroyd, Playbook would like to know your favorite “Blues Brothers” scene. Email [email protected].

At Ball Elementary School in Chatham at 9:45 a.m. He’ll give remarks.

No official public events.

No official public events.

Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: [email protected]

Senate seat squabble: There’s a political battle brewing over the appointment process for the state Senate seat that opened up with the death of Sen. Scott Bennett.

Elbowing for the job: Champaign County Democratic Party Chair Mike Ingram wants the 52nd District Senate seat, and so does state Rep. Carol Ammons.

At issue: Illinois gives county party leaders authority to make appointments, so Ingram could conceivably appoint himself. Instead, he’s named a committee to handle the appointment. Awkward, given Ingram chose the members of the committee.

The process isn’t sitting well with Ammons, who says Ingram is trying to deny a “strong Black woman” what she’s due, according to the News-Gazette’s Jim Dey, who is first out with the story.

Missing women and girls in Chicago have a new group fighting for answers and looking to prevent the next disappearance. A task force created by a new state law will focus on uncovering past cases and preventing new ones.

“We have to reach deep and find out what’s going on out there,” state Sen. Mattie Hunter, who carried the legislation, told POLITICO’s Olivia Olander.

The ultimate goal: The law mandates the creation of a task force to collect data and look for patterns in ongoing cases and promote education and awareness about the disappearances, which disproportionately affect Black women, Hunter said.

Close to home: The Illinois Democrat pushed for the legislation after speaking with loved ones of women who have disappeared or whose killings remain unsolved. “It just seemed like we couldn’t get any movement from law enforcement,” Hunter said.

With a law now on the books, a task force will be formed with the goal of incorporating law enforcement, family members and lawmakers to produce a report by the end of next year.

An expanded angle: The group will also work with a task force studying human trafficking in Illinois, state Sen. Jacqueline Collins told POLITICO.

“The intent and the goals were the same: How do we deal with the lack of consideration and concern for missing Black women and girls?” she said. “How do we rectify the glaring disparity?”

Gov. JB Pritzker ‘comfortable and confident’ cashless bail is constitutional despite court ruling to contrary, by Tribune’s Dan Petrella

Gen Z in the House: Two young lawmakers joining Illinois General Assembly, by Tribune’s Jake Sheridan

Legislative Black Caucus calls them ‘predatory’ lenders; pawnbrokers push back, by Capitol News’ Peter Hancock

Sangamon County tries to address homelessness in new strategic plan, by State Journal-Register’s Steven Spearie

A wind farm in Lake Michigan? A bill in Springfield proposes it, by Crain’s Greg Hinz

Lopez endorses Willie Wilson for mayor, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman

Corporate Chicago opens its wallet in City Hall races, by Crain’s Greg Hinz 

Outgoing Ald. Tom Tunney backs Proco Joe Moreno in 1st Ward race, by Block Club’s Mina Bloom

— Jessica Gutierrez, who’s running for a City Council seat in Chicago’s 30th Ward, is out with a digital ad. Gutierrez is the daughter of former Congressman Luis Gutierrez. “I’m here to do the work,” she says in the ad.

Two Black candidates for Springfield City Council cite racial bias in removal from ballot: Ward 5 candidate Calvin Pitts and Ward 7 candidate Jaleesa Davis, whose name was also removed from the ballot, said during a recent meeting of the Springfield Electoral Board “that they were being unfairly targeted because of their race,” writes Illinois Times’ Dean Olsen.

Chicago homicides declined in 2022, but total still among highest since ‘90s, by WTTW’s Matt Masterson

Mayor Lori Lightfoot wanted Chicago Bears to change her season ticket seats over security concerns, by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt

Gas bills may be rising in Chicago after Nicor files for $321M rate hike, with Peoples Gas expected to follow, by Tribune’s Robert Channick

Search is on for Chicago’s first poet laureate, by Sun-Times’ Emmanuel Camarillo

The end of Chicago poaching suburban corporate headquarters? Area-wide initiative touts “new era of regional cooperation,” by A.D. Quig

— RELATED: Chicago lost some big corporate headquarters in 2022. Allstate in no hurry for new one after selling its suburban campus, writes Tribune’s Robert Channick

Columbo murders: Frank DeLuca dies in prison while serving more than 300 years, by Daily Herald’s Barbara Vitello

Southwest Airlines sued for not providing immediate refunds after holiday debacle, by Sun-Times’ Emmanuel Camarillo

Will the city reopen Englewood’s long-closed Racine ‘L’ stop? CTA gets $2M to study plan, by Block Club’s Atavia Reed

Illinois incubator The 1937 Group takes action for minority cannabis, by Green Market Report’s Debra Borchardt via Crain’s

Former GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger joins CNN: “As his 12-year congressional run concludes, the Trump critic and Jan. 6 committee member heads to cable news as a senior political commentator,” by Sun-Times’ Darel Jevens.

State Sen. Terri Bryant (R-58th) is among dozens of elected and government officials from around the country chosen for the Delta Leadership Institute, a leadership training program that’s part of the Delta Regional Authority based in Mississippi. Other Illinois participants include State Comptroller Deputy Director of Outreach and Community Affairs Josh Downs, LiUNA Laborers’ Local 773 business manager Jerry Womick, Anna City Administrator Dori Bigler, Marion IT director Terance Henry and Southern Illinois University Carbondale small-business adviser Quianya L. Enge. More on their selection here

We asked for your most adventurous moment:

Andy Shaw: “Knocking on the door of drug kingpin Jaime Herrera Nevarez’s Durango, Mexico ‘fortress’ hacienda to ‘discuss’ our 1975 Pulitzer-nominated Mexico-to-Chicago ‘Heroin Highway’ series for the Sun-Times. He didn’t answer — duh! — and I never would have done that in the violent decades since then.”

Michael Stokke: “Bareback horseback riding on the steppes of Mongolia.”

Jim Strickler: “I delayed starting college by a semester so I could work on a campaign to pass a school bond issue in my hometown. An incredible adventure!”

What future event would you want to witness in person? Email [email protected]

Durbin part of group calling for extension of moratorium on federal executions, by Crain’s Mark Walsh

Reps. Bobby Rush and Robin Kelly reflect on work achieved, by Hyde Park Herald’s Aaron Gettinger

House’s speaker drama shrinks congressional agenda, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett

Trump’s spell over GOP breaks with McCarthy meltdown, by POLITICO’s Meridith McGraw and Nicholas Wu

Mary Miller, from downstate Illinois, emerges as hard-line McCarthy opponent: Illinois Republican Darin LaHood, a Kevin McCarthy backer involved in negotiations, told the Sun-Times on Wednesday night that “I believe we are making progress. The two sides are working diligently together.” Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet reports.

— Sean O’Shea, a partner at the Alexander, Borovicka & O’Shea Government Solutions lobbying firm, died of complications from brain cancer Tuesday. He was a notable name in government and lobbying circles in Illinois and Washington, D.C., where he worked for both former President Bill Clinton and, later, former Sen. Hillary Clinton.

During the Clinton administration, O’Shea worked in the Office of Cabinet Affairs. And for Sen. Clinton, he was a legislative aide handling domestic appropriation bills, transportation and infrastructure issues, homeland security and health matters related to the 9/11 attacks on New York City.

O’Shea later worked in Springfield, where he was deputy chief of staff to Gov. Pat Quinn, overseeing capital investments including a $31 billion program to fund highways, light-rail and transit systems.

His husband Sebastian Contreras Jr. is the dean of student success at Oakton Community College.

— Diana Martinez is chief of communications for the Office of City Clerk Anna Valencia. Martinez previously worked for the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk. Before that, she had stints with the Illinois Senate.

— Hugo Balta is now executive editor at the Chicago Reporter, the publication shared this week. Balta was previously an associate editor.

— Annie Sweeney is now communications director for the Illinois Justice Project. She’s a long-time and well-respected criminal justice reporter, most recently with the Chicago Tribune and earlier with the Sun-Times.

Tuesday: A luncheon discussion at Union League Club with investigative reporters Walt Bogdanich and Michael Forsythe, who wrote ”When McKinsey Comes to Town: The Hidden Influence of the World’s Most Powerful Consulting Firm.” The book exposes the company’s “unsavory work” with fossil fuel companies, cigarette-makers, opioid distributors, regulatory agencies and autocratic regimes, according to a Washington Post review. Details here

WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Kristin DiCenso of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for correctly answering Stephen Douglas’ April 25, 1861 speech is known as “Protect the Flag.” In it, Douglas asked state legislators to put aside partisanship and support President Abraham Lincoln’s war effort.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Which co-star of the movie “Purple Rain” was born in Springfield? Email [email protected]

Former Congressman Rodney Davis, Obama Foundation President David Simas, former state Rep. Chad Hayes and writer Nash Jenkins.

-30-

via POLITICO

January 5, 2023 at 07:12AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s