Illinois Insights: An Update from Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies (9/26)

September 26, 2022


Cook County moves into low COVID-19 transmission level, over 137,000 new boosters given, by Daily Herald.

Chicago, suburbs back down to low COVID-19 risk level: “Illinois has reported an average of 2,482 new cases per day over the past week, a 32% decline compared to a month ago,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.


Illinois to sell $2.6 billion in soybean, corn crop to Taiwan

On Friday, state and federal officials from Illinois met with Taiwanese officials to draft a letter of intent for the sale of approximately $2.6 billion worth of Illinois soybeans and corn to Taiwan over the next two years.

Governor J.B. Pritzker, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and the Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago Johnson Chiang signed the letters of intent authorizing Illinois to sell and export between 96 million and 107 million bushels of corn and 59 million bushels of soybeans and other corn products to Taiwan in 2023 and 2024.

Taiwan ranks second among the state’s corn trading partners and third among soybean purchasers, making for an important partnership. Illinois and Taiwan agreed on a similar deal in 2019 for $2.2 billion in crop sales.


Collective bargaining amendment brings national labor fight to Illinois ballot: “Atop ballots throughout Illinois this fall, voters will be asked whether Illinois should enshrine into the state constitution the right of workers to unionize and collectively bargain, a proposal backed by organized labor to preempt future right-to-work laws but opposed by anti-union groups that contend it will raise taxes and grant unions unprecedented power,” by The Chicago Tribune.

State Sen. Emil Jones III pleads not guilty to federal bribery charges: “State Sen. Emil Jones III pleaded not guilty Friday to federal bribery charges after he was accused of agreeing to protect the politically connected red-light camera company SafeSpeed LLC in the Illinois General Assembly,” by The Chicago Sun-Times.

Governor Pritzker Proclaims Sept. 23 – Oct. 2 Illinois Electric Vehicle Week: “Governor JB Pritzker and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Friday launched Illinois Electric Vehicle Week (Illinois EV Week), which runs through October 2, 2022, and is designed to raise awareness about Illinois’ robust EV ecosystem – including the benefits of driving an electric vehicle as well as choosing Illinois to locate or grow EV businesses,” from the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

No back pay for former lawmakers, Supreme Court rules: “A pair of former state lawmakers who hoped to claw back lost wages from a pay freeze will not be getting back pay, the Illinois Supreme Court announced in a decision released Thursday,” by The Daily Line.

Gov. Pritzker, Stakeholders, Unveil Design for Discovery Partners Institute at The 78: “As part of his focus on expanding Illinois’ innovation economy, Governor JB Pritzker and the University of Illinois’ Discovery Partners Institute unveiled the design for the new headquarters in The 78, a vibrant new innovation district along the Chicago River. Design renderings can be downloaded here.” From the Office of Gov. JB Pritzker.

Pritzker Administration Secures $13.3 million in New Funding to Support Conservation Planning: “The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) announced today the approval of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) and Conservation Planning Assistance grant agreement,” from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.


Nubia Williams to serve as Chief Engagement Officer for Community Engagement

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced today that Nubia Williams will serve as the City’s next Chief Engagement Officer for Community Engagement.

In January 2022, Williams became the First Deputy of the Mayor’s Office of Community Engagement, where she provided guidance and support on policy programs, managed special events and city-wide engagements, and maintained internal and external relations across the City as well as developed national partnerships and responded to federal policies that impact immigrant and refugee communities.

Williams joined Lightfoot’s administration in July 2019 as Director of the Office of New Americans and co-leader of the Cities for Action, helping advocate for the rights of immigrants in Chicago.

Prior to her work in the Mayor’s office, Williams was a supervising attorney at Legal Aid Chicago, Immigrant and Workers Rights Practice Group from 2010 through 2018 and a professor at Loyola University of Chicago Law School in the fall of 2018.

Jaye Stapleton to serve as Deputy Mayor for Education and Human Resources

Mayor Lori Lightfoot today announced Jaye Stapleton to serve as the City’s next Deputy Mayor for Education and Human Services. Stapleton has over fourteen years of experience working with communities locally and internationally.

Stapleton joined Lightfoot’s staff in September 2020 as Director and then in 2021 as Senior Director of Social Services Policy. In this role, she co-led the Mayor’s Office of Education and Human Services Team, working closely with other administrations to improve health programs across the city.

Some notable initiatives Stapleton guided and supported include Healthy Chicago 2025, the City’s Mental Health Equity Framework, homelessness reduction, the City’s Food Equity Agenda, 211 Metro Chicago, the Chicago Resilient Communities Pilot, coordinated workforce development, and violence prevention programs.

Prior to joining the Mayor’s office, Stapleton worked as a Chicago Mayoral fellow to develop policy related to wellness programs, co-founded the Four Corners Global Consulting Group, and supported social science research through her work with Innovations for Poverty Action and the University of Michigan.


Freshly Appointed Ald. Timmy Knudsen To Install Security Cameras Across Ward As One Of His First Moves: “Ald. Timmy Knudsen, who was confirmed by City Council on Wednesday, highlighted public safety, schools and ‘giving back to the community’ as his top priorities on day one as alderman,” by Block Club Chicago.

Mayor Lightfoot Will Travel to Mexico City to Highlight Chicago Economy and Reaffirm Partnership: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot will lead a delegation of City officials and business leaders on a five-day trip to Mexico City from September 28 to October 2,” from the Office of Mayor Lightfoot.

Chicago police joining national wave of encrypting radio communication, raising transparency concerns: “The Chicago Police Department is moving all of its radios to digitally encrypted channels by the end of this year, limiting access to one of the few ways the public can best monitor police activity,” by The Chicago Tribune.


Beltway Briefing: What is the Outlook for the 2022 Midterm Elections?

The 2022 midterms are around the corner, and there may not be a more consequential election than this one. From inflation to a possible recession, tax policy, gun control, abortion law, immigration reform, and more, American voters have a plethora of issues to consider in November. The Biden administration’s politics, policies, and polling will shape the national atmosphere, as midterms are generally viewed as a referendum on the president. All 435 House seats are up for election, and a shift of only five seats would transfer control of the chamber to Republicans. In the Senate, a total of 35 seats are up for election, with a net change of one seat in either direction altering the balance.

Public Strategies’ Howard Schweitzer, Mark Alderman, Patrick Martin, and Towner French ponder different case scenarios for the midterms, including one of the House flipping to Republican control, and how the shift in the balance of power and the resulting legislative gridlock could pose serious challenges to Biden’s agenda. They also discuss the potential impact of a divided government on the 2024 presidential elections.

You can listen to this and any of the previous Beltway Briefing podcast episodes here.


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