Illinois’ stake in the Farm Bill

Illinois’ stake in the Farm Bill

With help from Olivia Olander

Happy Thursday, Illinois. I’m in Washington to interview Gov. JB Pritzker as part of POLITICO’s “The Fifty: America’s Governors” live event today. Register here to watch the program, which starts at 9:10 a.m. ET. My conversation with Pritzker is at 10:05 a.m. ET.

WASHINGTON — The House Agriculture Committee may be the next place for political brawling — or real bipartisanship.

Democratic Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (IL-13) is hoping for the latter. She is one of four Illinois lawmakers on the powerful committee that sets U.S. food and agriculture policies in the Farm Bill. It’s an overhaul that’s done only once every five years. There are 28 Republicans and 24 Democrats on the high-profile committee.

Safe place: The Ag Committee is a place where Republicans and Democrats might find common ground, says Budzinski, who’ll be working alongside Republican Rep. Mary Miller, and fellow Democratic Reps. Jonathan Jackson (IL-01) and Eric Sorensen (IL-17). They all have different views and goals for their districts, but they’re each chomping at the bit to set new policies on everything from farming and forestry to nutrition programs such as SNAP and school lunches.

“Agriculture is the number one economic engine in our state,” Budzinski said from her office in the Longworth House Office Building. She sat down with Playbook after the Ag Committee’s first meeting of the new Congress Wednesday.

Budzinski hopes to see the Farm Bill better fund “ag tech” and “precision farming” at universities, crop insurance and the biofuel industry. Biofuels are generated from corn and soybeans production — key crops in Budzinski’s district. “Incentivizing the use of biofuels is a way to reduce carbon emissions while supporting family farmers,” she said, pointing to United Airlines recently signing on with two biofuel companies.

In separate interviews, Jackson said he wants to look at food desserts in his urban district, and Sorensen wants “to make sure that sustainability isn’t just an environmental term. It’s about jobs.”

And in a statement to Playbook, Miller, who’s also a farmer, said she wants to focus on “risk management programs, pursuing trade deals and preventing China from buying our farmland so we can preserve the family farm.”

There’s always drama in the mayor’s race — and today it’s centered on two challengers to the mayor.

Jesús ‘Chuy’ García congressional campaign says it will return Bankman-Fried money to investors: “The news came as lawyers representing former clients of the FTX exchange said earlier this week they would try to get back the tens of millions of dollars indicted FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried lavished on political candidates across the U.S.,” by Tribune’s John Byrne.

And there’s vitriol aimed at Vallas: oppo research, questionable campaign financing and a new attack ad.

First, a Texas story: In 2022, Vallas’ son was one of 3 police officers who fatally shot a man in Texas, reports the Triibe’s Jim Daley. The campaign’s response: “The matter was the subject of a complete investigation. Gus Vallas was found not to have engaged in any violation of policy and was returned to full duty.”

The Tribune’s Gregory Pratt followed up: “Vallas often talks about his son, San Antonio cop Gus Vallas, on the campaign trail, noting that they are a family of public servants with close ties to police.”

‘I would support Giuliani’: Mayor Lori Lightfoot is out with another ad showing Vallas in his own words during a 2009 interview. In this 40-second spot, Vallas is asked who he would support in 2012. “If I were to rank them, I would support [Rudy] Giuliani first, and I would support [Mitt] Romney second” over Barack Obama, Vallas said.

Ad spending: Questions raised about potential campaign finance violations: “State election records indicate that the Chicago Leadership Committee, formed in December to help Vallas via ads that legally are not supposed to be coordinated with him or his campaign, has spent the $165,000 with Maryland-based media company Mad River Communications” by Crain’s Greg Hinz and Justin Laurence.

Duking it out in a debate: Vallas was the focus of attacks at a WBEZ/Sun-Times forum, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman 

If you are Barack Obama, Playbook would like to hear your thoughts on the mayor’s race. Email [email protected].

In Washington at the National Governors Association 2023 Winter Meeting.

No official public events.

At the Cook County Building to preside over the Cook County Board meeting.

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

Thousands lack access to broadband in central Illinois: “A map compiled by the DCEO found that about 5,000 households in Sangamon County do not have internet reaching speeds of 25 Mbps download, 3 Mbps upload — the standard broadband speed determined by the Federal Communications Commission,” by State Journal-Register’s Patrick Keck.

The Illinois voucher law is about to ride into the sunset. Will lawmakers rescue it, or just wave goodbye? Forbes’ Peter Greene reports

Bill surfaces in Springfield to crack down on auto insurers, by Crain’s Steve Daniels

Johnson’s education plan includes free CTA rides, City Colleges tuition for CPS students, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman

— 34th Ward: Jim Ascot says his opponent, Bill Conway, has refused to debate, Block Club’s Melody Mercado reports.

— 50th Ward: Candidate Mueze Bawany talks anti-Israel tweets, public safety at community forum, by Block Club’s Leen Yassine

— RELATED: The Simon Wiesenthal Center is denouncing Bawany for anti-Israel comments he made on social media a few years ago. “Those tweets add fuel to the fires of bigotry,” the group said.

In 2019, Bawany tweeted: “F— Israel and f— all you Zionist scum.” Bawany apologized in a statement and interview last week, saying they came during low times for him, including during conflict between Israel and Palestine and during Donald Trump’s presidency. He again apologized at Thursday’s forum, reported Block Club.

More than 23,000 ballots cast so far for 2023 Chicago election, by CBS 2’s Jackie Kostek

— SCOOP: Police Superintendent David Brown, who’s been a lightning rod in the debate on public safety, is expected to make his exist: “In October, Brown turns 63, the mandatory retirement age for Chicago’s police officers and firefighters,” by Tom Schuba, Fran Spielman and Frank Main.

Brendan Deenihan, chief of CPD’s detective division, is leaving the force, people familiar tell Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba

Chicago Municipal pension fund posts net -11.7% return for 2022, by Pension & Investments’ Rob Kozlowski

— About tax rates: Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas is releasing a new report showing how low property tax collection rates are harming minority communities in the south suburbs. The low collection rates make it difficult to deliver vital services, according to her office. It’s all detailed in Pappas Portal, a new periodic newsletter being launched by the Treasurer’s Office.

Wisconsin-based PAC raising money ‘to educate voters in McHenry County’: A political action committee as been set up to help “educate the voters in McHenry County,” records filed online with the Illinois State Board of Elections show. “Dubbed McHenry County Citizens for Lower Taxes, the PAC was created by Thomas Datwyler on Jan. 21 and filed with the state elections board on Jan. 23, records show,” reports Shaw Media.

Demographic details revealed for Cook County guaranteed income program: “Nearly 235,000 people applied for the program that selected 3,250 Cook County residents to each receive $500 monthly payments for two years. According to a press release sent by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s office, more than half of the recipients are Black and 71 percent are women,” by Crain’s Corli Jay.

A rarity in the Outcome Health fraud trial: A juror Zooms in: “When a juror on the Outcome Health fraud trial called in sick Monday, the juror was allowed to watch and hear testimony via video conference, which allowed U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin to avoid delaying the trial or excusing the juror,” by Crain’s John Pletz.

2 teens plead guilty to arson in fire that destroyed Pheasant Run Resort, by Daily Herald’s Susan Sarkauskas

Chicago Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwardy joined community leaders and public health activists earlier this week at Malcolm X College for the premiere of HIV and the Journey Toward Zero. The documentary film, directed by Emmy award-winning director Chan C. Smith, features Chicagoans affected by HIV and asks what it means to approach the end of the HIV epidemic.

We asked why you’re staying put in Illinois.

Janice Anderson: “Why of course the weather and politics”

Kristopher Anderson: “Chicago summers are worth the wait and endurance of Chicago winters. Plus, I have a home in San Juan when needed.”

Eli Brottman: “To stay close to family, and to live in a diverse, safely Democratic state with laws that protect fundamental rights.”

Leo Driscoll: “I live near Carbondale and Shawnee National Forest. Many wineries, great music scene, life-long friends.”

Justin DeJong: “The people! I grew up in small-town Iowa and started coming out of the closet when I moved to Chicago. The friends and co-workers I met became my ‘chosen-family.’”

Tammy Hansen, Kim Morton and Brent Zhorne stay to be near their grandchildren.

Bryce Harris: “Because there’s a serious lack of tavern-style pizza elsewhere.”

Mark Heffington: “It’s easier to stay than to move and start everything over with only 10 or so years until retirement.”

Mike Kohr: “Family, friends and being in the middle of the nation literally and figuratively.”

John Straus: “It’s as blue a state as exists in the country!”

Patricia Ann Watson: “My son remains here, at least for now, and my aging parents live in a nearby state, otherwise I would be an expat.”

When did you fall asleep in public? Email [email protected]

— A hearing on the December Southwest Airlines meltdown will be livestreamed today. Sen. Tammy Duckworth takes part in her first Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing today. She’s the Aviation Subcommittee chair. The meeting will address recent air travel disruptions and Southwest Airlines’ operational meltdown in December that left folks stranded during the holidays. Witnesses: Southwest COO Andrew Watterson and Southwest Pilots Association President Casey A. Murray.

— Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-16) was appointed chair of the House Intelligence Committee’s National Security Agency and Cyber Subcommittee.

— RED LINE LETTER: Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and members of Illinois’ Democratic delegation sent a letter to the U.S. Transportation and Department and the White House Office of Management and Budget, urging them to provide federal grant funding for Chicago’s Red Line Extension project.

Biden stops the Dem bedwetting … for now, by POLITICO’s David Siders and Christopher Cadelago

Manchin ‘raising hell’ over White House handling of marquee Dem bill, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett

McCarthy brings in record haul at first fundraiser since becoming Speaker, by POLITICO’s Hailey Fuchs

— Tom Demmer is the new executive director of the Lee County Industrial Development Association. Demmer comes to association after having served for the past 10 years as state representative for the 90th district, which includes parts of Lee, Ogle, DeKalb and LaSalle Counties. He was deputy minority leader in the Illinois House and chief budget negotiator for the Republican caucus. He left the House for a run as state treasurer in 2022. Demmer replaces Kevin Marx who is retiring after leading the organization since 2018.

WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Scott Wiseman for correctly answering that the Centralia Orphans, who logged 2,296 wins as of 2021, are the winningest basketball team in Illinois, according to stats by the Illinois High School Association.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Where did John T. Scopes, the alleged teacher of evolution, attend school after the famous “Monkey Trial”? Email [email protected]

Illinois Secretary of State chief deputy Aimee Pine, lobbyist Scott Marquardt, attorney Karen Anderson and public affairs consultant Alejandra “Ale” Moran.



via Illinois Playbook

February 9, 2023 at 07:23AM

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