Happy Tuesday, Illinois. A year ago, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin jumped in the governor’s race, upending the political scene.
Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson, who led the special House Jan. 6 committee, took a swipe at Donald Trump, endorsed Mayor Lori Lightfoot and then waded into Chicago politics Friday during his keynote at Chicago’s interfaith breakfast honoring Martin Luther King Jr.
It wasn’t a campaign event but highlighted how the intensifying mayoral campaign is penetrating public discourse at every turn ahead of the Feb. 28 election.
Thompson warned against “charlatans” who speak out “in the spirit of Martin,” saying they were the same critics who spoke out against King. They’re the kind of folks who have come after Congresswoman Robin Kelly and Lightfoot, too. He was alluding, apparently, to Kelly’s battle to lead the state Democratic Party and Lightfoot’s opponents.
Turning to the mayor, Thompson said, “If you want to make enemies, try to change things.”
Was he endorsing Lightfoot, we asked after his speech? “Absolutely,” Thompson said.
Wading into Chicago politics: Thompson went on to needle opponents to Lightfoot’s plan to open a Chicago school to migrants.
“We are now the melting pot in this city. We are Black and brown, and we are everything. So we have to get along,” Thompson said, adding that when migrants “out of desperation” land in Chicago “we have to open our arms and say welcome. If we have to open a school to welcome immigrants, then we open the school — especially if the school is empty. You understand?”
Regarding Trump, Thompson said, “Those four charges we recommended against former President Trump will stick. Even if you are president of the United States, you aren’t above the law.”
On the campaign trail:
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot pounced on challenger Paul Vallas during punchy women’s forum, by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt and Alice Yin. VIDEO via NBC 5
— Paul Vallas is profiled by Derrick Blakley for Center for Illinois Politics
— Jesus “Chuy” Garcia unveiled his public safety plan, which “mirrored Lightfoot’s approach in some aspects and was light on specifics when calling for new approaches,” reports Crain’s Justin Laurence.
— Garcia also tried to distance himself from indicted crypto mogul Sam Bankman-Fried, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman
— Congressman Jonathan Jackson endorsed mayoral challenger Brandon Johnson: Jackson backed Johnson over Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia — even though Garcia endorsed Jackson for Congress. Jackson cited Garcia’s belated entry into the mayor’s race, reports Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Mayoral forum Thursday: It’s being sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Chicago and will air on ABC 7 and Univision from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
GOING GLOBAL: Gov. JB Pritzker kicks off his second term with a trip to the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps of Davos.
“I want to promote the state of Illinois,” Pritzker told reporters when asked about his invitation to speak. He made a similar trip to Paris for the COP26 summit on climate change in 2021.
In Davos, Pritzker said he’ll be “talking to and meeting” with U.S. and international leaders, “promoting commerce in Illinois and ideas that have come forth from the state of Illinois that others may want to follow.”
Some of those ideas might be the three huge bills crossing Pritzker’s desk, including:
A bill he signed expanding abortion access in Illinois to help ‘overwhelmed clinics,’ and protecting patients and providers,via Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout
A bill guaranteeing workers five days of paid, by Capitol News’ Nika Schoonover
And the state’s new assault weapons ban. Here’s our recap
— Presidential proclivities? Asked whether Davos is a good way to go global with a potential presidential run, Pritzker responded, “We’re the fifth largest state in the United States. We’re already on the world stage.”
— Pritzker speaks Tuesday on a Davos panel titled “America (Un)Bound.”
U.S. lawmakers in Davos tell Europeans: America’s not protectionist, by POLITICO’s Alex Ward and Suzanne Lynch
If you are World Economic Forum Chairman Klaus Schwab, Playbook would like to know what makes a Davos speaker.Email [email protected].
At the Belmont-Cragin Elementary School and Early Childhood Center at 9 a.m. for a ribbon cutting.
No official public events.
— Firearms firestorm: Sixteen DuPage-area state legislators are releasing an open letter today saying they are “dismayed and angered” by DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick’s announcement that he won’t enforce the Protect Illinois Communities Act, which was signed into law last week. It bans new sales of automatic weapons in Illinois and requires existing weapons be documented with authorities.
— Illinois’ sweeping firearms is ban certain to end up in court, and some experts doubt it will stand, by Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner, Jason Meisner and Dan Petrella
— Illinois Gaming Board OKs gaming license for clout-heavy lawyer in an about-face: “But the state agency won’t say what new evidence prompted it to approve James J. Banks — an Illinois Tollway board member under five governors — for video poker machines and other gambling devices,” by Sun-Times’ Tim Novak and Robert Herguth.
— Commentary: Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara on city’s anti-crime initiatives: “Our crime issues will not be solved overnight. However, I believe we have strategies in place that will make a significant impact,” he writes in Rockford Register Star.
ELECTION ATTENTION: The Illinois State Board of Elections administers elections, but Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias wants his office to play a bigger role in their outcomes.
His transition committee of 125 people, including former Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, issued a report that calls for ramping up automatic voter registration, launching mail-in-ballot awareness and increasing polling places. The SOS report also calls for modernizing technology, improving driver services facilities and beefing up library enhancements, among other goals. Here’s the full report
— Chicago’s mayoral candidates on what they’d do to keep the Bears — and what happens to Soldier Field: “Some want to keep the team but have offered few specifics. Some have given an emphatic “no” to the use of city tax dollars. And then there’s the problem of what to do with a Bear-less Soldier Field,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin and A.D. Quig.
— THE JUICE: Chicago mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson got a $400,000 boost from the American Federation of Teachers.
— Surprise endorsement: Congressman Danny Davis is backing CB Johnson, a candidate for alderman of the 29th ward, over veteran Ald. Chris Taliaferro. Davis’s team said the congressman and Johnson endorsed Taliaferro for a judge position that he didn’t get. “Clearly, Taliaferro had determined a new path, which did not include representing the people of the 29th Ward,” Davis said in a statement.
— In the 4th Ward, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch is endorsing fellow Rep. LaMont Robinson in his bid for alderman.
— In the 25th Ward, Congressman Jesús “Chuy” Garcia is endorsing Aida Flores in her City Council run. Flores is challenging incumbent Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, whose progressive followers excoriated Garcia on Twitter.
— Former 1st Ward Ald. Proco ‘Joe’ Moreno remains on ballot in his attempt to return to public office, by Tribune’s Jake Sheridan
— Chicago’s biggest police union is spending money to win power on new oversight councils: “The police union paid $25,000 to two election attorneys to kick candidates off the ballot in police district races,” by WBEZ’s Anna Savchenko.
— POST-PANDEMIC UPTICKS: Hotels are close to pre-pandemic business levels,“and more convention travelers in 2023 could close the gap,” reports the Tribune’s Brian J. Rogal. And Obama Foundation volunteerism on MLK Day makes a comeback after Covid hiatus, by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel
— Migrants arriving in Chicago sleeping in bus shelters and police stations as community steps in to help, by Tribune’s Laura Rodríguez Presa and Adriana Pérez
— Movement for more bike infrastructure grows, by Tribune’s Jake Sheridan
— R Public House, a gay-owned restaurant in Rogers Park, targeted in suspected homophobic attack, by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba
— “We’re doing reform but we haven’t finished the task,” political expert Dick Simpson tells podcaster Mark Sims.
— What’s coming around the corner? Vehicles keep crashing onto Elgin homeowner’s property, by Daily Herald’s Marni Pyke
— Springfield paramedics charged with murder in man’s death: “Peter Cadigan, 50, and Peggy Finley, 40, strapped Earl Moore Jr., who was experiencing hallucinations, face down onto a gurney in December, authorities say. He later died,” by Sun-Times’ Emmanuel Camarillo.
— Ex-Art Institute payroll manager stole more than $2M from museum, according to indictment, by Sun-Times’ Kaitlin Washburn and Jon Seidel.
— Frank Sennett, the former “Time Out Chicago” editor in chief, is out with a political thriller that Illinois playbookers will find familiar. The U.S. president in the fictional novel is from Chicago and her character resembles the backstories of President Barack Obama (who was a community organizer) and Sen. Tammy Duckworth (who lost her legs in combat). “Shadow State” takes place in the future but references the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and includes a storyline about Proud Boys infiltrating law enforcement. The opening chapter of a school bombing and attempted assassination of the first lady is gripping. The book is out Feb. 21.
We asked what job gave you your first paycheck:
Fritz Kaegi, the Cook County assessor: “Door-to-door canvassing in the summer of 1989 for the Illinois Public Action Council — it meant evading dogs to make my $100 a day quota to get homeowners excited about electricity regulation. By the end of the summer I made enough to buy a MacSE computer.”
Stephen J. Rosenblat: Wolfy’s on Peterson Avenue in Chicago.
Tom Gradel was a copy boy at the now defunct Philadelphia Evening Bulletin.
Ray Hanania: Burger King across from CVS High school for 95 cents an hour.
Mary Kay Minaghan cashiered at Proper Pharmacy.
Brent Zhorne was a “trap boy” at the Northbrook Sports Club. ”I learned to shoot trap, and it became a lifelong hobby.”
Steve Smith was a Jewel stock boy.
Franklin Ramirez shined shoes at the Park Ridge Country Club.
Eileen Soderstrom was a junior counselor at a day camp for children with developmental disabilities. “My younger sister had Down’s and was a camper.”
What do people remember wrong about the supposed “good old days”? Email [email protected]
— Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s former mayor who is now the U.S. ambassador to Japan, stopped in Chicago on his way to D.C. He hit Manny’s deli and sat for a TV interview, saying he enjoys life as a diplomat and is biting his tongue about the mayor’s race, via NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern.
— Penny Pritzker and Bryan Traubert’s foundation is investing $10 million in the Garfield Park Rite to Wellness Collaborative. The group hopes to open the 60,000 square foot Sankofa Wellness Center in 2025. It will house a fitness facility, childcare, before and after school and summer programs, community credit union and trauma-informed behavioral care.
— Ken Griffin sells Park Tower condo for $11.2M,by Crain’s Dennis Rodkin
— An exit interview with Rodney Davis, “bullshit” and all, by Illinois Times’ Dean Olsen.
— Jesse White recounts the time his tumblers flew over a 10-foot high Eli’s cheesecake in an exit interview with NPR’s Scott Simon.
— Ron Onesti is a ‘big fish’ in suburban pond: “He seemingly knows and hires every pop star and group ranging from Tony Orlando and Wayne Newton to Nancy Sinatra and Paul Anka and Alice Cooper,” writes H. Lee Murphy in Crain’s.
— Banks’ shot: Rising conservative dives into Indiana Senate race, by OLIVIA Beavers and Burgess Everett
— What MLK’s campaign in Chicago tells us about his legacy, by Sheryll Cashin for POLITICO Magazine
— Peter “Pete” Peters, who served in the Illinois House and later chaired the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, has died. Obit here
— Thomas Keyser has been named founding dean of Illinois State University’s College of Engineering. He starts April 1. He’s now a College of Engineering dean at Oregon Institute of Technology.
— Wayne Williams has been named chief administrative officer for the Cook County Assessor’s Office. He’s now Cunningham Township assessor and involved in Champaign County Democratic politics.
— Heather Youkhana has been promoted to associate VP of PR at LaSalle Network.
— Jan. 28: A “Biscuits and Bubble” brunch to support Rep. Kelly Cassidy will be held at Pearl’s Southern Comfort on Broadway in Chicago. Details here
FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Ashvin Lad who correctly answered that then-Mayor Nick Blase of Niles was arrested by federal authorities on his birthday.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Which Chicago mayor designated the city’s first on-street bike lanes? Email [email protected]
Former first lady Michelle Obama, Cook County Judge Abbey Fishman Romanek, Mason County Democrat Jay Briney, comms consultant Kelley Quinn and Edelman VP Katherine Wiet.
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January 17, 2023 at 09:29AM