Citizen Bulletin: Indicted Alderman Rejects Corruption Plea Deal & More News

 /  Dec. 3, 2018, 2:33 p.m.

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Starting this week, the Gate will publish University of Chicago’s Democracy Initiative’s (UCDI) weekly Citizen Bulletin, which highlights the activity of national, state, and local elected officials representing the University of Chicago. Here’s the first installment.

The Citizen Bulletin’s news highlights include: Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Board President Toni Preckwinkle passed annual budgets; the Illinois State Legislature overrode Governor Bruce Rauner’s vetoes of legislation expanding visa eligibility and increasing Quincy Veterans Home damages, while his veto of a law to raise the smoking age was sustained; Senator Dick Durbin joined other senators in introducing a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill; Senators Tammy Duckworth and Durbin introduced a bill to charge the EPA with revising its Ethylene Oxide emissions standards in wake of the controversy over the Willowbrook, IL Sterigenics plant.

Chicago City Government

Alderman Leslie Hairston (5th Ward) ~ call your alderman! (773) 324-5555

  • Nov 21 — Accepted $20,000 in campaign donations from Mayor Emanuel, who is not running for re-election this February

Alderman Willie Cochran (20th Ward) ~ call your alderman! (773) 955-5610   

  • Nov 28 — Rejected a plea deal which could have allowed him to avoid jail time for fraud charges; a federal public corruption trial is now scheduled for June

Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) ~ call your mayor! (312) 744-3300

  • Nov 14 — Passed an annual budget for the city which does not increase taxes, potentially protecting city council members from backlash during an election year and harming the city’s long-term financial prospects

  • Nov 16 — Announced the city is working with an engineering and design firm to develop plans for a police academy in West Garfield park

  • Nov 27 — Raised the possibility of a gasoline tax increase in order to fully fund capital projects

Cook County Board

President Toni Preckwinkle ~ call your Cook County board president! (312) 603-6400

  • Nov 15 — Approved Cook County budget which increases healthcare spending following unexpected revenue increases

  • Nov 15 — Presented a “policy roadmap” for Cook County which prioritizes job growth in areas with affordable housing options and seeks to find public health solutions to the gun violence epidemic

  • Nov 21 — Released (following a public records request) a report which led to the dismissal of her security chief; the report was heavily redacted

Illinois State Government

Representative Barbara Flynn Currie (D–District 25) ~ call your state rep! (773)-667-0550

  • Nov 27 — Voted with the majority of the state house and senate to override Rauner’s veto, passing a bill that will eliminate the zero-tolerance policy on marijuana for Illinois State Police

Senator Kwame Raoul (D–District 13) ~ call your state senator! (773) 363-1996

  • Nov 14 — Failed to push through an override of Governor Rauner’s veto of a bill which would remove Illinois from a controversial multi-state voter registration system

Governor Bruce Rauner (R–IL) ~ call your governor! (312)-814-2121

  • Nov 28 — Survived an attempt to override his veto of a bill to raise the minimum smoking age to twenty-one

  • Nov 29 — Suffered an override of his veto of a bill to guarantee visas to immigrant crime victims who cooperate with the police

  • Nov 29 — Criticized AirBnB over its decision to ban listings in the West Bank, questioning if it violated an Illinois law against aiding movements to boycott Israel

  • Nov 29 — Failed to amend a bill raising the cap on damages for tort claims against the state (including Quincy Veterans’ Home deaths) from $100,000 to $2 million, following an override of his amendatory veto

U.S. Federal Government

Representative Bobby Rush (D–IL1) ~ call your representative! (773) 779-2400

  • Nov 15 — Met with Target executives in an unsuccessful attempt to convince them not to close the Chatham and Morgan Park locations

  • Nov 23 — Led Black Friday picket lines outside of Target stores to protest closings

Senator Tammy Duckworth (D–IL) ~ call your senator! (312) 886-3506

  • Nov 14 — Announced that she will co-chair Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker’s Veterans Transition Committee

  • Nov 15 — Introduced legislation along with Senator Durbin to prevent the dumping of untreated sewage into the Great Lakes

  • Nov 16 — Introduced bipartisan legislation to allow airports to access cheaper capital financing to improve airport infrastructure

  • Nov 27 — Called on the the Department of Veteran Affairs Inspector General to investigate potential ethics violations in President Trump’s VA

  • Nov 28 — Praised the passage of a senate resolution to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of WWII, a resolution which Duckworth introduced

  • Nov 28 — Voted for bill, along with Senator Durbin, that would remove all US soldiers in Yemen that were not authorized by Congress

Senator Richard Durbin (D–IL) ~ call your senator! (312) 353-4952

  • Nov 12 — Unveiled bipartisan criminal justice reform bill, supported by President Trump and several GOP senators, that would loosen some mandatory minimum sentencing rules and enact a broad array of other reform measures

  • Nov 14 — Re-elected by his colleagues to the position of Senate Democratic Whip

  • Nov 15 — Issued joint statement with Senator Lisa Murkowski supporting the Food and Drug Administration’s latest e-cigarette regulations; later met with commissioner to press for stronger action

  • Nov 19 — Argued that Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States should be barred from entering the country over his government’s alleged role in the killing of a Washington Post journalist

  • Nov 29 — Accused the White House of discouraging CIA Director Gina Haspel from sharing information about Saudi Arabia’s recent actions

  • Nov 29 — Introduced bill, along with Senator Duckworth and others, to charge the EPA with revising its Ethylene Oxide emissions standards in the wake of the controversy over the Willowbrook, IL Sterigenics plant.

President Donald Trump (R) ~ call the president! (202) 456-1414

  • Nov 16 — Ordered by a judge to restore CNN’s Jim Acosta’s press credentials as the network’s Chief White House Correspondent

  • Nov 21 — Refrained from taking a hard stance against Saudi Arabia over the CIA-confirmed killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

  • Nov 27 — Threatened General Motors with reduced subsidies after the companies announced US factory closures and fourteen thousand job layoffs by the end of 2019

  • Dec 2 — Announced that he will formally terminate NAFTA in order to pressure Congress into approving the new trade deal negotiated between the United States, Canada, and Mexico

  • Dec 2 — Agreed to hold off on imposing further tariffs on Chinese goods at G20 summit

  • Dec 2 — Refused to sign a G20 joint pledge to fight climate change, making the United States the only country at the summit to not sign on

The Citizen Bulletin is a product of the University of Chicago Democracy Initiative (UCDI). UCDI is proudly supported by the Andrew Goodman Foundation’s nonpartisan Vote Everywhere project.To learn more about the UChicago Democracy Initiative, please visit

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Photos provided by the UChicago Democracy Initiative. 

UChicago Democracy Initiative (UCDI)


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