Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (3/27)

March 27, 2023


Chicago’s COVID-19 Risk is Low, from the Chicago Department of Public Health.



Illinois Democrats spending big to combat ‘extremist conservatives’ in school board races: “In an unprecedented move, the Illinois Democratic Party is investing about $300,000 in school and library board elections around the state to combat what it calls ‘extremist conservatives,’” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

House deadline week comes to abrupt end after fight over chamber rules and dwindling Democratic attendance: “The House concluded its deadline week to pass bills on to the Senate abruptly Friday night after a procedural error over debate rules angered Republicans and a growing number of Democrats left session for the night,” by The Daily Line.

$141 million in Pritzker projects have close ties to governor’s allies but face serious questions: “The Cairo port development is one of three Rebuild Illinois projects sponsored by the governor, totaling $141 million, which have close ties to his friends or political allies but have also been marked by serious questions or delays, an investigation by the Illinois Answers Project has found,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Gov. Pritzker Announces 116 Non-profit Organizations Awarded $20 Million for Enhanced Security Across Illinois: “On Friday, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) announced $20 million in grants have been awarded to 116 non-profit organizations across the state through the 2023 Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP),” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Lawmakers take action to help DACA recipients become police officers: “The House passed HB3751 by Rep. Barbara Hernandez (D-Aurora) on a 101-0 vote. The bill allows people in the United States under the DACA program or others legally authorized to work in the country to become police officers,” by The Daily Line.


Sen. Dick Durbin endorses Vallas, Bernie Sanders to host rally for Johnson

Standing alongside former Secretary of State Jesse White ahead of the annual Greek Independence Day Parade in Greektown on Sunday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) endorsed Paul Vallas in the race for Chicago mayor.

The Senate’s second-highest ranking Democrat said he thought “long and hard” about making an endorsement before choosing to “come off the comfort of the sidelines.” In his speech, Durbin  highlighted Vallas’ experience as Chicago’s budget director and as CEO of Chicago Public Schools, calling him a “lifelong Democrat committed to Democratic values.”

The endorsement is an important one for Vallas, who has faced repeated criticism this election cycle for past appearances on conservative talk shows, numerous substantial donations from right-leaning donors, and Facebook posts and other statements condemning Democratic leadership and initiatives in the state.

Durbin’s endorsement comes as candidates begin their last week on the campaign trail and just days before Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is set to headline a pre-election rally for Brandon Johnson. Despite a lack of political ties to Illinois, Johnson supporters hope that Sanders’ guest appearance Thursday will encourage Chicago’s progressives and young voters to show up to the polls on April 4th.


Johnson, Vallas make policy commitments to community coalition at mayoral town hall: “In front of an audience of more than 700 people, the two remaining mayoral candidates spent Saturday morning at UIC’s Dorin Forum making commitments to the 30 different Chicago community groups that make up One Chicago for All,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

46th Ward aldermanic candidate accused by opponent of indirectly coordinating with outside political action committees, ‘circumventing campaign finance laws’: “Kim Walz, a Walgreens representative, political consultant and former aide to U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), is the subject of allegations from the campaign of activist Angela Clay, Walz’s opponent in the April runoff. But Walz’s campaign called the allegations a distraction, and a state board of elections official said state statute does not explicitly prohibit the tactic,” by The Daily Line.

Chicago’s next mayor will face deep financial problems, massive deficits and a pension hole: “On the campaign trail, both mayoral candidates paint sweeping visions of a shinier, more prosperous Chicago under their watch,” by the Chicago Tribune.

Rev. Al Sharpton joins Brandon Johnson at get-out-the-vote rally in West Garfield Park: “Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson were invited to the rally. Sharpton didn’t endorse Johnson, but he told the crowd to ‘let the record show who showed up’ to the event,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.



First Citizens buys Silicon Valley Bank after run on lender: “First Citizens BancShares Inc. agreed to buy Silicon Valley Bank after a run on deposits wiped out the company in the biggest US bank failure in more than a decade,” by Crain’s Chicago Business.

Biden’s pick to lead FAA withdraws amid shaky Senate support: “President Joe Biden’s choice to run the Federal Aviation Administration has withdrawn his nomination, a setback for the administration that comes after Denver International Airport CEO Phillip Washington appeared to lack enough support in the closely divided Senate,” by the Chicago Tribune.


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