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PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Feb 13, 2013

Obama Calls For Congress To Act On Progressive Issues In SOTU Address

With a promise to fuel economic growth but not add “a single dime” to America’s deficit, President Obama’s State of the Union address focused on creating middle-class jobs and encouraged bipartisan support for initiatives such as raising the minimum wage.

PI Original
by Matthew Blake
Fri Jan 18, 2013

No Movement On Chicago Infrastructure Trust, Yet

Proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel last March and approved by the Chicago City Council in April, the Infrastructure Trust outlined a way to finance infrastructure projects in the city during a time of prolonged federal and state budget crises and near absolute political aversion to tax increases. Its polarizing central concept of private companies investing in public infrastructure and then receiving some undefined return on their investment was alternately seen as a revolutionary way to improve Chicago and a nefarious step towards private investors opaquely dictating public policy. We take a look at what has come of the controversial Trust thus far.

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
Thu Nov 8, 2012

Freeport Sensata Employees Rally For Job Creation, Full Severance

Freeport workers at the Bain Capital-owned Sensata Technologies rallied today as part of a national movement calling on politicians to focus on job creation, not cuts to social services and education. The workers say the outcome of the election, which saw Democrat Cheri Bustos beat incumbent, Tea Party-backed Republican Bobby Schilling in the 17th congressional district where the Sensata factory lies, shows that voters are ready to see their elected officials work for them, not against them.

For months, the Sensata workers called on U.S. Rep. Schilling and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to address the issue of the 170 U.S. jobs being outsourced to China. But their calls fell on deaf ears, with neither Schilling nor Romney ever taking the time to meet with the workers or address the issue. 

“Politicians who turned their back on workers, like Bobby Schilling and Mitt Romney, were rejected by voters,” said Tom Gaulrapp, who has worked at the plant for 33 years. “Our elected leaders need to stand up for good jobs, not job-killing budget cuts.”

Quick Hit
by Progress Illinois
Thu Sep 27, 2012

Op-Ed: Gov. Quinn's Office Sets The Record Straight On Policies, Relationship With Unions

The following op-ed is by Brooke Anderson, Press Secretary to Governor Pat Quinn.

Nobody is more committed to improving life for working families than Governor Quinn. Some of your readers will recall that back in 1993, Governor Quinn was among the few elected officials to stand with organized labor in opposing NAFTA. For three decades, he advocated for a humane minimum wage and workers’ rights. He has joined union brothers and sisters on more picket lines than any Illinois Governor in memory, dating back to his meeting César Chávez in the 1970s. Governor Quinn organized the Citizens Utility Board – along with groups like the Labor Coalition for Public Utilities – which has saved Illinois consumers $10 billion in utility rate reductions and refunds since 1985.

Since he became governor, jobs have been Governor Quinn’s number one priority. And his efforts have produced solid results for the working people of Illinois.

Quick Hit
by Brandon Campbell
Wed Aug 29, 2012

Environmentalists Warn Private Investors Could Hike Illinois Water Fees

Local residents could begin to feel a financial pinch at the kitchen sink as more private investment firms take aim at public water utilities.

That’s according to a new report from a citizen’s advocacy group that shows some major financial players, like JPMorgan Chase, Australian bank Macquarie and the Carlyle Group, are taking advantage of the public sector’s slow recovery from the recent recession by buying up public utilities.

Emily Carroll, Midwest regional director at Food & Water Watch, said Chicago’s water infrastructure system isn’t “at risk of being sold, per se.” But Carroll warned that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s controversial Infrastructure Trust will smooth the path towards public-private ownership of some Chicago utilities.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Fri Aug 3, 2012

Third Chicago Airport Far From A Sure Thing

Prior to a leave of absence that began June 9, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Chicago) was focused on the construction of a third Chicago area airport in the south suburb of Peotone. So it was interesting to see the Chicago Sun-Times report Monday that a top Illinois Department of Transportation official said the Peotone airport “is going to happen.” Was a longtime Jackson goal finally realized with Jackson out?

The short answer is no. A proposed Peotone airport must get FAA clearance on several matters, and secure significantly more money. Plus, a standoff between Will County and Jackson must be resolved.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Mon Jun 11, 2012

Infrastructure Trust Names Board Members, Not Projects

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today his picks for the five-member board of the Infrastructure Trust, a plan to use private money to finance public projects that passed the City Council in April. The council, which next meets June 27, must approve each choice.

But the mayor has still not identified Trust projects, except a plan where private investors would use $225 million to make some city buildings more energy efficient. Emanuel spokesman Tom Alexander said in an interview last week that, currently, there are no additional projects on the table.