Brandon Johnson’s big day
Good Monday morning, Illinois. What a wild world it is to have interviewed Brandon Johnson Friday morning and covered Ron DeSantis that evening. Political reporting is grand.
When Brandon Johnson takes the oath as mayor of Chicago today, he’ll put his hand on a family Bible. His wife, Stacie, and three children will be nearby, and so will his 80-year-old father, Andrew, who as a pastor and mental health worker helped shape the new mayor’s view of the world.
Special guests: Rev. Drew Sheard, the minister of Greater Emmanuel Institutional Church of God in Christ in Detroit. It’s the largest Pentecostal denomination in the country. Sheard’s wife is Karen Clark Sheard, of the famed Clark Sisters. So “of course” she’ll be singing, Johnson told Playbook in an interview Friday in his bustling transition office.
Johnson’s speech: It will address “uniting the city and how we have an incredible opportunity and, quite frankly, a responsibility to set a course for today that will lead to transformation 100 years from now,” he said.
Relying on Stacie: Johnson’s wife, whom he described as “brilliant” and “an incredible writer,” will have had a hand in his speech.
Once sworn in, Johnson will greet well-wishers at City Hall, then be feted at a private gala.
When he gets to work: Tuesday, Johnson will meet with his senior leadership team, he said, “to develop a plan for asylum seekers and public safety, especially as we go into the summer. Those goals are top of mind.”
His approach: Johnson wants to work with county, state and federal officials to “devise a plan.” As he’s said before, it needs to be “collaborative.”
Holdover team members: We asked about Johnson giving three-month trials to commissioners from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration. Johnson said he wouldn’t call it a trial, per se. “This three-month period is going to give me an opportunity, as well as these individuals, to get to know one another,” he said. He wants to make sure their vision aligns with his vision.
On the bubble for three months: Allison Arwady, the Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner (who Johnson said during the campaign would be let go), and Chicago Transit Authority President Dorval Carter.
Public safety and gun violence also a priority: “It does require us to move with urgency,” the mayor-elect said, pointing to gun manufacturers being the crux of the problem. “These manufacturers have been allowed to create a tool to execute on. So that, again, takes a lot of collaboration with every level of government [and with] businesses and corporations.”
About mental health facilities: Johnson said he wants to “fully assess and evaluate” but that he’s committed to providing public health facilities that provide holistic health-care services. Public-run facilities were closed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The Lightfoot administration then pivoted to expand mental health-care through nonprofits. Johnson is considering reopening public health facilities, while also working with nonprofits.
As we wrapped up, Johnson said he feels widespread “genuine excitement” about his administration. “People are rooting for the city of Chicago to win,” he asserted
Case in point: Emanuel sent a message to Johnson, via Twitter.
And as if on queue, transition-team members burst into the room as our interview wrapped up to give Johnson a box. Inside was a newly framed picture of the mayor-elect standing with President Joe Biden from a Selma, Ala., event two months ago.
100 years of mayoral inauguration speeches, by Tribune’s Kori Rumore
A GRAND GOODBYE: Mayor Lori Lightfoot exited City Hall on Friday with hundreds of supporters, City Hall allies and bagpipers on hand. NBC 5 has the video.
Leaving her mark: In her last hours on the Fifth Floor, Lightfoot issued 10 executive orders that further strengthen her policy agendas, including measures to shore up city finances, expand programs that help residents who struggle to pay fines and water bills and tighten the zoning process. The latter order goes to the heart of “aldermanic prerogative,” which has allowed City Council members to have control of zoning in their wards. It’s an issue she targeted on her first day in office. Here’s the executive order.
What it means for Johnson: The executive orders can be rescinded by the incoming mayor, but doing so would put Johnson in a tricky spot as seeming to support some of the machine-style tradition of giving aldermen outsized power. Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout has more.
Tribune’s deep dive: Lightfoot was “a combative mayor who led Chicago through crises, some of her own making,” write Gregory Pratt, Alice Yin and A.D. Quig.
SPEAKING OF RAHM | From Rahmbo to Rahm-bassador: How an unlikely diplomat has wooed Japan: Emanuel’s interpretation of his job as ambassador to Japan “is a signature mix of mayor, political operative, fundraiser and media hound,” according to The Washington Post.
That was fast: Kimberly Neely du Buclet was appointed Saturday to the 5th District state representative seat that opened up after Lamont Robinson Jr. was elected to the Chicago City Council. Du Buclet will be at work in Springfield this week, a signal that Democrats making the appointment wanted someone who could hit the ground running.
Du Buclet has most recently served as a commissioner for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (She also was VP of the board.). Earlier, she was a state representative. Du Buclet had been appointed to the position but didn’t run for a full term because Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle had backed a different candidate.
This time around: Preckwinkle backed du Buclet. Chicago Ald. Pat Dowell, however, had the weighted vote and initially supported Pastor Earl Grandberry Jr. for the job. When it was clear, though, that Dowell couldn’t rally enough support behind Grandberry, she joined in backing du Buclet, who was voted in unanimously.
Now what? Gov. JB Pritzker will appoint a replacement for the MWRD seat that du Buclet won in November.
If you are Stacie Johnson, Playbook would like to know what your signature cause will be in the next four years. Email [email protected].
Responses: Asked for her take on the lifting of Title 42, Congresswoman Delia Ramirez said, “We can expect it to become all the more urgent that we finally take action on comprehensive immigration reform.”
Asked how he rallied senators to vote for a bill that got unanimous support, state Sen. Michael Hastings said he talked to every senator “and listened to their feedback.”
At UIC’s Credit Union 1 Arena at 10:30 a.m. for the swearing-in of Brandon Johnson as mayor.
At Johnson’s swearing-in.
At Johnson’s swearing-in.
Thank you for reading Illinois Playbook! Drop me a line sometime: [email protected]
PEORIA, Ill. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis brought down the house Friday at a sold out Lincoln Day dinner to benefit the Peoria and Tazewell County Republicans at the Peoria Civic Center.
The Republican governor hasn’t (yet) announced a run for president, but he’s gearing up. His speech touched on all the hot-button issues that rev up the Republican base, key in any GOP primary.
DeSantis also took delight in needling Illinois Democrats, taking a jab at Illinois for losing residents to the Sunshine State.
Gov. JB Pritzker issued a statement calling DeSantis “an authoritarian career politician who has no business being in public office.”
— FULL STORY: DeSantis takes anti-woke show to Peoria
— Trump’s 2020 re-hash puts DeSantis in a bind: Can he bring himself to say Trump lost? POLITICO’s Sally Goldenberg reports
— DeSantis got Iowa all to himself Saturday, by POLITICO’s Natalie Allison
— Trump changed GOP rules to make winning the nomination even easier — for Trump: “In 2024, more states will award delegates through winner-take-all primaries — a system that helped Trump when opponents divided the vote, allowing him to be awarded all or most of the delegates with less than majority support,” via Bloomberg.
— Budget, Bears, Chicago school board and ethics: Illinois legislators face busy agenda in spring session’s final week: “Also on the table is the possibility of additional funding to help Chicago address its growing influx of migrants and asylum-seekers, and the need to finalize a map for the city’s new elected school board,” by Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner and Dan Petrella.
— House passes bill to bar officials convicted of corruption from holding public office: “It’s important to note that Illinois is the only state in the nation that bars an individual from running for office based on the office sought, as opposed to the crime committed,” said the bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Rep. Curtis Tarver. Capitol News’ Peter Hancock reports.
— Lawmakers mull first-in-nation protections for child social media stars: “A bill in the legislature would entitle child influencers under the age of 16 to a percentage of earnings based on how often they appear on video blogs or online content,” by The Associated Press’ Claire Savage.
— Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to Illinois lawmakers: Fund gun enforcement, reports WBEZ’s Patrick Smith
— Illinois Supreme Court considers whether a fetus can be a ‘victim’ of murder, by Capitol News’ Andrew Adams
— ‘Crisis pregnancy centers’ could face legal action under measure poised for Pritzker’s signature. by Capitol News’ Hannah Meisel.
— POT POURRI: Hemp-based cannabis overdoses at Chicago high school — linked to neighborhood smoke shop — prompt calls for strict state regulation, by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin
— Migrant crisis ‘one of the most challenging’ problems facing new mayor, says his chief of staff, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman
— Kenya Merritt has been named deputy mayor of business and neighborhood development. Merritt will promote “wage growth, entrepreneurship and investment for all Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods,” according to a statement from Brandon Johnson’s team.
— Groupon terminating HQ lease early, by Crain’s Danny Ecker
— Obama Center update: The Obama Foundation has hired two Black-owned firms with Chicago roots — Moody Nolan and Elevate Design Build — to design and build the Programs & Athletic Center at the Obama Presidential Center.
— Why some suburban park districts rely more on property taxes than others, by Daily Herald’s Jake Griffin
— Campton Hills trustee-elect Timothy Morgan vows to be seated despite 2002 Michigan DUI conviction, by Shaw Local’s Brenda Schory
— How parenthood affects moms in office, by Daily Herald’s Russell Lissau
— An Illinois town was at risk of becoming a local news desert. Then a startup newspaper began publishing: “The Community News Brief is harnessing the journalism expertise that’s still in Macomb to fill the local news void,” reports WBEZ’s Alex Degman.
We asked what you’d like to hear in Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson’s inauguration speech.
Graham Grady: “An imperative that all sectors come together to move Chicago forward — business, labor, philanthropic, community organizations, religious groups and all communities of color.”
Andy Shaw: “That he’ll create a new foot patrol unit in the downtown area.”
Tom Vanden Berk: “That he’ll tell people on the West Side and South Side that the police will ‘serve and protect’ them.”
If you were the ultimate risk-taker, what life change would you make? Email [email protected]
FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Matthew Beaudet who correctly answered that Mayor Richard J. Daley’s first inaugural speech was written by Earl Bush.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the 1950s Illinois congressman who suggested the U.S. purchase and annex Canada? Email [email protected]
Ald. Jeanette Taylor, outgoing Ald. Carrie Austin, former Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady, MWRD Commissioner Dan Pogorzelski, ophthalmics consultant Vincent Brandys, PAWS Chicago CEO Susanna Homan, Goodman Williams Group’s Linda Goodman, University of Chicago exec Alicia Berg and Sun-Times’ D.C. bureau chief and columnist Lynn Sweet.
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May 15, 2023 at 07:12AM