Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (1/27)

January 27, 2023


IDPH Reports 20 Illinois Counties at an Elevated Community Level for COVID-19, from the Illinois Department of Public Health.


Pritzker endorses aldermanic candidates in Chicago City Council races

On the first day of early voting for Chicago’s Feb. 28 municipal elections, Gov. JB Pritzker published a list of his endorsements across several Chicago City Council races.

The aldermanic endorsements included candidates running in 22 elections, but many were seemingly redundant as the list features multiple incumbents running unopposed. Pritzker did not endorse a candidate for mayor.

Here is the full list of Pritzker’s endorsements:

Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd Ward); Lamont Robinson (4th Ward); William E. Hall (6th Ward); Ald. Michelle A. Harris (8th Ward); Ald. Anthony A. Beale (9th Ward); Ald. Nicole Lee (11th Ward); Ald. Stephanie D. Coleman (16th Ward); Ronnie L. Mosley (21st Ward); Ald. Michael D. Rodriguez (22nd Ward); Ald. Monique L. Scott (24th Ward); Ald. Walter Burnett, Jr. (27th Ward); Ald. Jason C. Ervin (28th Ward); Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward); Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd Ward); Bill Conway (34th Ward); Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward); Ald. Emma M. Mitts (37th Ward); Ald. Samantha Nugent (39th Ward); Bennett R. Lawson (44th Ward); Kim Walz (46th Ward); Ald. Maria Hadden (49th Ward); Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th Ward).


Pritzker warns College Board against AP Black studies changes after DeSantis blocked course: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker is going to battle with the national College Board over what he calls ‘political grandstanding’ by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. In a letter, Pritzker told the nonprofit that oversees the Advanced Placement program that Illinois will reject a revised African American Studies course if it doesn’t include ‘a factual accounting of history, including the role played by black queer Americans,’” by the Daily Herald.

County Finance Committee votes to approve contract extension with Deloitte for job recruitment services: “The Cook County Finance Committee on Wednesday voted to approve a one-year extension of a contract with Deloitte, the firm that has been performing employee recruitment and hiring services for the county for the past 14 months. The approval sends the final decision to the county board of commissioners,” by The Daily Line.

County board approves additional funding for gun violence prevention program grants: “The Cook County Board of Commissioners on Thursday approved $25 million in funding for violence reduction and prevention-oriented initiatives. The money will be distributed to scores of organizations participating in more than three dozen initiatives over the current and following fiscal years,” by The Daily Line.

Gov. Pritzker Announces $2.6 Million Investment to Further Strengthen Aviation Mechanic Pipeline in Rockford: “Governor JB Pritzker Thursday joined AAR CORP. and local officials and partners to announce a $2.6 million investment to support and expand workforce training, pipeline development and 80 apprenticeships at AAR’s Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility at the Rockford International Airport (RFD). Today’s announcement builds on the state’s FY22 investment that helped bolster AAR CORP’s comprehensive workforce strategy as it increased the number of aviation mechanics hired from 85 in 2019 to more than 350 in 2023,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

McHenry County state’s attorney files lawsuit claiming new Illinois gun ban violates 2nd Amendment: “The McHenry County state’s attorney’s office is challenging the constitutionality of Illinois’ new ban on some high-powered weapons and high-capacity magazines in a lawsuit filed Thursday, joining a number of other groups, businesses and officials across the state seeking to overturn the law,” by the Daily Herald.


Lightfoot, mayoral candidates square off in heated forum 

Mayoral candidates Lightfoot, Congressman Jesus “Chuy” García, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Vallas, Cook County Board Commissioner Brandon Johnson, and businessman Willie Wilson went head to head Thursday in a heated forum hosted by radio station WCPT-AM (820).

The debate’s centered focus on crime opened the door for Mayor Lightfoot to take the offensive against her leading challengers in the race for Chicago mayor – repeatedly interrupting rival candidates and even the moderator as she attempted to defend her mayoral record.

Labeling García the “original defunder” of police and Vallas a resume inflater with “no plan to keep Chicago safe,” both candidates fired back at the incumbent mayor with their own public safety plans.

The latest polling, released Thursday by Victory Research, shows Vallas with a slight lead over Lightfoot – 19.5 percent to 19.2 percent, with a 3.45 percent margin of error. With a total of nine candidates running in the Feb. 28 election, the current numbers all but guarantee a runoff on April 4 if no candidate manages to secure more than 50% of the vote.


Lightfoot to back effective ban on natural gas in new buildings: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot is set to back an ordinance that would clamp down on carbon emissions from newly constructed buildings in Chicago, forcing most if not all new construction to fuel heat and cooking with electricity rather than natural gas. The measure is expected to be introduced Feb. 1 when the City Council next meets, according to sources familiar with the proposal,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Garcia, Lightfoot, Vallas get big injections of campaign cash: “As the mayor’s race nears the stretch run to the Feb. 28 first round, big campaign cash is flooding into the war chests of some of the front-runners, with six-figure donations reported in the past few days by U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and former Chicago Public Schools chief Paul Vallas. Garcia led this round, taking in an additional $700,000, money he needed to finally launch his TV ad campaign. Lightfoot reported more than $360,000 in new donations,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Write-in candidates to play critical role in handful of elections for newly created police district councils: “In-person early voting at two locations in Chicago begins Thursday and in addition to selecting their pick for mayor and local aldermen, voters will be asked to choose three members of the 22 newly created police district councils based on the police district in which they live. But with four of the 22 police district councils having less than three official candidates listed on the ballot for the three open seats in each district, at least three write-in candidates are all but guaranteed to win elected office — a rarity in Chicago,” by The Daily Line.

CPS warned Lightfoot aide over emails seeking student volunteers before campaign defended recruitment effort: “Lightfoot, who has since apologized and admitted the tactic was “clearly a mistake,” has faced heavy criticism for the misstep and is under scrutiny by the inspectors general for both the school district and the city,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.


Cozen Currents: Process Trumps Substance on the Debt Limit

After reaching the $31.4 trillion debt limit last week, the clock is ticking to find a path forward and avoid a default. But raising the debt limit today has become a broader partisan fight, which may require creative maneuvers to bypass the political impasse.

While many of the side deals Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) cut with several members of his conference who balked at supporting his speakership have not been publicly acknowledged, they are nevertheless becoming apparent and could hamper his effectiveness as speaker. Republicans are aiming to restrict the consideration of economic, social, and governance (ESG) factors in investment decisions. Under a divided government, this push is likely to find greater success in the states, but the House GOP is poised to use its new majority to press the issue.

Read the Cozen Currents article here.

Beltway Briefing: The Santos Controversy

Since winning a Long Island congressional seat last year, a flood of recent reporting has exposed George Santos as an alleged serial liar who embellished or fabricated a shockingly large part of his life story during his election campaign.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, Towner French, and Kaitlyn Martin discuss the impact of the Santos controversy, which has drawn a divide within the House GOP conference, with some Republicans coming out against the freshman and others backing his continued service. And, as the U.S. government hit the statutory debt ceiling on Thursday, prompting the Treasury to institute extraordinary measures to allow the government to pay its obligations until early June, they also break down the status of debt-ceiling negotiations and ponder the economic damage a first-ever default on U.S. debt would cause around the world.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.


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