* 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.