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When you oppose popular bills you campaigned for, stuff can happen to your agenda

Wednesday, Jan 20, 2021

* A.D. Quig

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot emerged from the Illinois General Assembly’s abbreviated session bruised by new legislation that will worsen the city’s financial woes and weaken her hand with public-sector unions.

One bill passed in the session sweetens Chicago firefighter pensions, adding hundreds of millions of dollars to the city’s pension tab. Another gives the Chicago Teachers Union, already one of the sharpest thorns in the mayor’s side, bargaining powers it lost in 1995. And leaders in the Illinois Senate are committed to taking away her power to appoint school board members even though the effort is delayed for now. […]

Still, the defeats highlight Lightfoot’s lack of the deep political relationships and leverage that helped her predecessors get their way in Springfield. For example, Rahm Emanuel staved off the broader CTU negotiating power and elected school board bills for years because his friend, then-Senate President John Cullerton, didn’t call them for votes. Some observers say Lightfoot might not have suffered such quick defeats on the firefighter pension and CTU bargaining bills if she had more legislators watching out for Chicago’s interests.

In order to have more legislators watching out for her priorities, she needs more allies.

* And it’s tough to attract allies when your agenda opposes items which are so politically popular that she, herself even campaigned for their passage

Lightfoot’s spokesperson points out that she supported the Section 4.5 repeal and an elected school board during her mayoral campaign. However, the mayor’s team fought hard against the bills in the recently ended session.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments
  1. - Bruce( no not him) - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 11:04 am:

    But, she was for it before she was against it.


  2. - Essential State Employee - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 11:15 am:

    It would also help if the Mayor also followed the IDPH guidelines for Chicago to a T instead of wanting to reopen indoor dining and bars early.


  3. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 11:34 am:

    I think we all understand that it’s possible to support an elected school board and have strong disagreements with Sen. Martwick’s bill. That said, if Mayor Lightfoot really believes in an elected school board, she can and should propose something as specific as what Martwick put forward.

    That’s on her.


  4. - Jaclyn - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 11:46 am:

    Her reversal on speed cameras fines and lowering the threshold for a fine to 6 mph will likely cause a stir at some point in time.


  5. - random - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 11:58 am:

    Her ego continues to prevent her from understanding that in Springfield, she’s the supplicant.


  6. - cermak_rd - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 12:02 pm:

    Jaclyn,

    I have always thought the threshold should be pegged to the speed limit of the road as a percentage. It is a lot worse, IMO to go 31 by a park that has a 25mph speed limit than it is to go 46 on LSD. Making it a percentage say 10-20% over makes more sense to me.


  7. - TNR - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 12:04 pm:

    Chicago voters wanted a political outsider on the 5th floor in City Hall. There are benefits to that, but one of the drawbacks is a mayor who doesn’t understand politics generally, let alone Springfield specifically.


  8. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 12:19 pm:

    Being you are, maybe, the top dog in Chicago, doesn’t count for squat in Springfield if you don’t have the votes. You still have to understand how the Legislature works … and line up allies to represent your interests and move your bills. Got to be able to count and know how to horse trade.


  9. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 12:40 pm:

    Instead of making needed alliances, Lightfoot has picked unnecessary fights with many (most?) of those whom she desperately needs on her side.

    Can anyone name any allies that Lightfoot has made since taking office?

    – MrJM


  10. - walker - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 1:26 pm:

    “”Can anyone name any allies that Lightfoot has made since taking office?”"

    MSNBC?


  11. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 1:27 pm:

    ===MSNBC?===

    😂😂😂


  12. - Rutro - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 1:41 pm:

    Allies? Allies! (in my Jim Mora voice)
    I don’t know one group or person that thinks she is doing anything right.


  13. - regular democrat - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 1:41 pm:

    I read where not one Senator representing the city voted with her on the fire pension bill. The article stated that Lightfoot “strenously objected” to the bill but still not one senator voted with her. That does not bode well for the future.


  14. - Frank talks - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 1:43 pm:

    Every Chicago Mayor has had a go to in Springfield. Someone or a group of someones that help move the need on their top issues and also help stop issues that can negatively impact them. Who does Lori have down there on her side pushing her issues?


  15. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 2:00 pm:

    Lightfoot has been grossly inept in both understanding how Springfield works AND how her Crew has been ineffective in both getting what needs to be done (the first time) and getting their boss to understand… the Mayor of Chicago is below a governor, and hasn’t had 60 and 30 on their own for “quite some time”

    Anyone can have a “Springfield Agenda”

    Ya need to pass your Springfield agenda to seem to understand process and inter workings of municipal and state governing.

    Not impressed with the 5th floor’s ineptitude on many fronts, this is just another.


  16. - Montrose - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 2:17 pm:

    There’s a long list of issues that Candidate Lightfoot supported that Mayor Lightfoot does not. An elected flipping on a issue isn’t new, but her umbrage at people calling her on it and her sense that she doesn’t need to give a rationale for the switch is what makes it so hard for her to get allies. As others have said, she assumes a level of loyalty and power that she hasn’t earner. Say what you will about Rahm, but he knew how to get folks on his side.


  17. - crazybleedingheart - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 2:44 pm:

    Quick, name one single strong value she has (other than her political future).


  18. - regular democrat - Wednesday, Jan 20, 21 @ 4:54 pm:

    If I remember correctly John D’Amico was sometimes referred to as Rahms floor leader in Springfield.
    Maybe Lightfoot needs one too.


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