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Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
1:33pm
Fri Oct 14, 2016

Chicago Tribune Endorses Duckworth Over Kirk, Bringing Incumbent's Health Into Play

The Chicago Tribune has endorsed U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL,8) in the race for Illinois' senate seat. The newspaper has previously endorsed incumbent Mark Kirk (R) in each of his races for political office.

In January of 2012, Kirk suffered an ischemic stroke, returning to Congress a year later. Kirk has been declared mentally fit to do his job as a congressman and regained use of his left side, but he does use a cane or wheelchair and sometimes appears to struggle with his speech.

The newspaper took the congressman's current state of health into consideration in opting to support his challenger in the November election.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
9:02am
Mon Sep 19, 2016

Proposed Constitutional Amendment Seeks To Protect Illinois Transportation Funding

When Illinoisans hit the polls in November, they will see a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot asking whether the state should put transportation funding in a "lockbox" so that it cannot be used for non-related spending.

If the amendment passes, the Illinois Constitution would be amended to ensure transportation funding is safeguarded from being spent on other purposes, like balancing the state budget.

Citizens to Protect Transportation Funding, a coalition of business, labor and construction groups, is leading the advocacy effort in support of the so-called "Safe Roads Amendment," which made it onto the November 8 ballot after strong bipartisan approval from the state legislature.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:00pm
Wed Jul 27, 2016

Experts Analyze Safety Of Chicago's Drinking Water Amid Lead Concerns

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform hosted a panel discussion Wednesday in Chicago on "the importance of keeping government accountable for clean and safe water." Progress Illinois provides highlights from the talk. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
12:18pm
Thu Nov 20, 2014

Chicagoans Confront School Board Over CPS' Controversial Bond Deals

Chicago Board of Education members got grilled over the district's questionable bond deals at a raucous school board meeting Wednesday evening.

It was the first school board meeting since the Chicago Tribune published a series of reports on the schools district's controversial borrowing decisions. The newspaper's analysis showed that between 2003 and 2007, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) entered into auction-rate bond and interest-rate swap agreements with financial institutions that could cost at least $100 million more over the life of the contracts than traditional borrowing methods would have.

In light of the Tribune's investigation, mayoral candidate Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), who attended the school board meeting, introduced a city council resolution last week with his Progressive Reform Caucus colleagues demanding hearings into the "current borrowing practices of the Chicago Public Schools." The council's education committee is expected to hold a hearing on the matter, though a date has yet to be determined.

"We closed over 50 schools supposedly to help save the budget, but meanwhile we lost more than $100 million gambling on Wall Street," Fioretti said at the school board meeting, held at George Westinghouse College Preparatory High School. "That's $100 million that could have been used to save some of these schools, pay our teachers, provide resources to our struggling schools and more."

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
8:25pm
Thu Oct 23, 2014

McKinney, Clout & The Freedom Of The Press: Where Would Illinois Be Headed Under Rauner's Reign? (UPDATED)

Former Chicago Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney's resignation from the paper is fueling players in both the political and media worlds to speculate about not only the future of the Windy City's oldest news publication, but also what it means for journalism in the state in a greater sense -- and what a Rauner-ruled Illinois could look like.

After 19 years at the newspaper, McKinney issued his immediate resignation Wednesday, stating in an open letter that, essentially, he had no choice but to make the "difficult decision due to the disturbing developments I've experienced in the last two weeks that cannot be reconciled with this newspaper's storied commitment to journalism."

The "disturbing developments" stem from the newspaper's response to the "multiple tactics" GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner's campaign deployed in an attempt to stop the publication of a story co-written by McKinney, Carol Marin and Don Moseley. The article detailed allegations that Rauner threatened a former employee, ex-LeapSource CEO Christine Kirk, as well as her family when it became clear that she planned to sue Rauner and his then-investment firm GTCR. Despite threats from the Republican's campaign stating they would "go over" the heads of those working on the story, according to McKinney, the piece ran.

And that's when the Rauner camp reportedly pounced even more viciously, penning an "opposition-research hit piece-rife with errors-about" McKinney's wife Ann Liston, a Democratic consultant. Although Sun-Times Publisher and Editor Jim Kirk responded to the Rauner camp's allegations of a conflict of interest, saying the "'assault' on my integrity 'border[ed] on defamation' and represented 'a low point in the campaign,'" according to the political reporter, actions were allegedly taken days later to silence and demote him.

Enter Sun-Times Chairman Michael Ferro.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:40pm
Tue Sep 23, 2014

A Closer Look At The 8th Congressional District Race

Progress Illinois takes a look at the 8th congressional district race that pits incumbent Democrat Tammy Duckworth against Republican challenger Larry Kaifesh.

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