Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (4/17)

April 17, 2023

Note: There will be no Illinois Insights update on Wednesday, April 19th; the end-of-week update will be distributed on Thursday, April 20th


IDPH Reports 6 Illinois Counties at an Elevated Community Level for COVID-19, from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

City’s health chief ‘looking forward to the conversation’ about retaining post under new mayor: “Dr. Allison Arwady told the Sun-Times she wants to stay on, but Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson has voiced concerns about the way Chicago Public Schools were reopened during the pandemic,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.


Johnson to speak to joint session Wednesday

Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson will speak before a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly in Springfield on Wednesday as state lawmakers return from a two-week spring break.

Afterwards, Johnson will join Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch for a press conference. The mayor-elect also has scheduled meetings with the Black, Asian, Latino, and Moderate caucuses.

“I am excited to join our dedicated leaders in Springfield and discuss how we can invest in people to lift up all of our communities,” Johnson said. “Building a better, stronger, safer Chicago will take all of us, and I look forward to establishing a strong foundation for collaboration.”


Chicago State University strike suspended after 10 days: “Faculty and staff will return to classrooms at the Far South Side campus on Monday after reaching a tentative deal with Chicago State University administrators,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Gov. Pritzker Pledges Illinois Will Work to Prevent Supply Chain Issues For Abortion Pill Amid Uncertainty Over Federal Lawsuit: “Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a statement early Friday in response to federal litigation over the legality of one of two drugs used in combination to end a pregnancy with medication,” by NBC 5 Chicago.

Gov. Pritzker Announces $14 Million in Grant Awards for Human Service Providers: “Governor JB Pritzker Friday joined the Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), along with state and local officials to announce over $14 million in awards to 70 human services providers throughout the state,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Dozens of Cook County employees resign or are fired in clerk of court, county inspector general’s PPP fraud probe: “Forty-eight court clerk’s office employees ‘no longer work’ there after investigators found they defrauded the federal COVID relief Paycheck Protection Program. Six employees of other county agencies also have been found to have defrauded federal relief programs,” by the Chicago Sun-Times.

Illinois first lady M.K. Pritzker appointed to committee charged with the preservation of the White House: “Just days after President Joe Biden selected Chicago to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, his administration said Friday that Illinois’ first lady M.K Pritzker has been appointed to serve on the Committee for the Preservation of the White House,” by the Chicago Tribune.


Lightfoot, Johnson release statements on large downtown gatherings and violence over the weekend

Both Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Mayor-Elect Brandon Johnson have issued statements in response to large gatherings in the downtown area over the weekend, which led to violence and a massive law enforcement response that resulted in more than a dozen arrests.

The unseasonably warm weather prompted hundreds of teenagers to gather near Millennium Park Saturday, with some engaging in “reckless and disruptive behavior,” Chicago police said. Several videos posted on social media showed teenagers breaking car windows, crowd fighting, and threatening bystanders. Additionally, gunfire broke out and two teenagers were shot Saturday night in the 100 block of East Washington Street.

Mayor Lightfoot issued a statement Sunday, saying “We as a city cannot and will not allow any of our public spaces to become a platform for criminal conduct. Most importantly, parents and guardians must know where their children are.”

For his part, Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson said that while he does not condone “the destructive activity” that took place in the Loop and lakefront over the weekend, it is not constructive to “demonize youth who otherwise have been starved of opportunities in their own communities.” He added in his statement, “Our city must work together to create spaces for youth to gather safely and responsibly under adult guidance and supervision.”


Finance committee to consider nearly $74M in TIF assistance for various developments: “The City Council Committee on Finance on Monday is set to consider approving nearly $74 million in tax-increment financing (TIF) assistance for various developments across the city ranging from park improvements to the building of affordable housing,” by The Daily Line.

Key committee gives initial OK to 2 new Police Board members: “The City Council Committee on Public Safety during its Friday meeting approved the appointments of Andreas Safakas and Aja Favors to fill two vacancies on the Police Board — an independent body that makes decisions on disciplinary cases that involve Chicago Police officers,” by The Daily Line.

Brandon Johnson on Raising a Family in Austin, Choosing the Next Top Cop: “‘Chicago Tonight’ host Brandis Friedman sat down with Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson for a wide-ranging interview on everything from why he chose to raise his family in Austin to how he’ll choose the next police superintendent,” by WTTW.


Beltway Briefing: Battles in and for the Senate

Dave McCormick, a former undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs and a well-funded former hedge fund CEO, has released a new book and is launching a new PAC. It’s fueling speculation he might run again for a Pennsylvania Senate seat in 2024, after narrowly losing to Mehmet Oz last year. Meanwhile, there are calls for 89-year-old Senator Feinstein (D-Calif.) to resign because of her prolonged absence from the Senate due to her health.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, and Kaitlyn Martin ponder whether McCormick may be the GOP’s ticket to a 2024 win in Pennsylvania and discuss how Sen. Feinstein’s temporary replacement or permanent resignation could impact the Senate Democrats.

Listen to the full Beltway Briefing here.


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