Good Monday morning, Illinois. The talk at poker last night was how much more we get done working from home. So here’s to a productive week.

SCOOP: Nikki Budzinski has left the Biden administration, where she served as chief of staff in the Office of Management & Budget, and she’s returning to Springfield. Her last day at OMB was Friday.

“I really wanted to come back home to central Illinois where I was born and went to college and have lived off and on throughout my career,” Budzinski, a Peoria native, told Playbook after her exit. “I just felt it was a good time to come back and after getting things off the ground here. I’m incredibly proud and honored to get this administration up and running and going. I had an opportunity to work with Neera Tanden and Shalanda Young, and they’re fantastic,” she said, referring to the White House senior adviser and acting OMB director, respectively.

Budzinski, who previously worked as senior adviser in Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration, says she will not be returning to work for his team in Springfield or on the campaign field, though the governor has not (yet) announced a re-election run.

Without confirming what her next move will be, Budzinski said “it will definitely be” working on issues related to working families and labor, to areas that have played roles in her career in the governor’s office and in the White House. She previously was executive director for Climate Jobs Illinois, a coalition of 12 state unions pushing for clean energy infrastructure programs to combat climate change and racial inequality.

“Right now, though, I’m focused on the move” back to Illinois, she said.

Budzinski was credited with helping Pritzker take his populist message to downstate voters during his 2018 campaign. She got her start in Springfield, working for then-Comptroller Dan Hynes. Budzinski was also a college intern for Sen. Paul Simon.

The OMB position was a good fit for Budzinski, who was experienced in working with an administration transition that was ripe with tension. In Springfield, she helped manage the shift from Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration to Democrat Pritzker’s. Though similar, she said the shift from Donald Trump to Joe Biden’s administration “was more toxic.” And massive. There are about 700 employees within OMB and 500 are career staff. “It was important to address morale while keeping up with President Biden’s fast and furious agenda,” she said.

RACISM IN ILLINOIS PLACES: As the country continues to revisit the placement of Confederate monuments and the names of public buildings, there are still more than a thousand towns and natural features that bear racist names, according to a federal board under the Department of the Interior.

Illinois is home to a number of places that use outdated or racist words like “Negro” and “squaw,” according to a search link by the Department of the Interior and reported by Axios.

Playbook did a quick search and found Big Negro Creek in Warren County, Little Negro Lick in Macoupin, Negro Cemetery in Fulton, Negro Hill Cemetery in Effingham, Negro Hollow Creek in St. Clair, Negro Lick in Greene, Negro Slough in Grundy, and Negro Spring Salt Well in Gallatin. The word “squaw” is also used in at least five places in Illinois, including Laughing Squaw Sloughs in Cook County.

A government link already exists where people can suggest name changes, reports Axios. “But locals often overlook the nature of such names because they carry a nostalgia about places they and their families have gathered for generations.”

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Emerging evidence shows the pandemic may have hit boys harder — not just in Chicago but nationally: “Black and Latino boys, who have long faced the largest gaps in the district, saw steeper drops in attendance and a sharper increase in failing grades than girls. The boys also saw only a modest uptick in As, which at the high school level increased markedly for white and Asian students and for Latinas. ‘This past year was really difficult for everyone,’ said Jenny Nagaoka of the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research. ‘But it’s really striking to see the outcomes for young men of color in particular,’” Chalkbeat’s Mila Koumpilova reports.

Delta dawn? Variant cases creep up as 13 Illinois counties hit COVID-19 warning level: “Average daily cases have jumped more than 50% and the Delta variant is accounting for more of them, data shows,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.

Pritzker has ‘no plans’ for added Covid-19 mitigations, reports Capitol News’ Jerry Nowicki.

New open seat in state Supreme Court will be expensive and hotly contested: “Four county judges and a North Shore mayor already say they’re in or considering a run for the new 2nd District job, and more candidates could emerge in the coming months. The would-be justices will have to win support from voters in Lake, Kane, McHenry, Kendall and DeKalb counties,” by Eric Krol for Center for Illinois Politics.

House GOP requests amendatory veto of ethics bill, says inspector general would be weaker: “Thirty-four of the 45 Republican members of the Democratic-controlled House sent a letter Friday to the Democratic governor to make the request about Senate Bill 539. The bill passed the House on a 113-5 vote on May 31 and the Senate 59-0 on June 1. State Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Morrisonville, an assistant House GOP leader and member of the bipartisan Legislative Ethics Commission, initiated the letter and said flaws in the bill highlighted by Carol Pope, legislative inspector general, ‘must be corrected,’” by State Journal-Register’s Dean Olsen.

… Opinion: Inspector general position designed to be frustrating: “Legislators as a class are generally a skittish lot. And they fully realize that ‘innocent until investigated’ is the standard by which officeholders are judged by voters, reporters and pundits. That could be why they even balked at Pope’s request to publish investigative reports which actually vindicate legislators. The mere existence of the investigation itself would have to be defended. It could be far more trouble than it’s worth,” by Rich Miller in Journal Gazette & Times-Courier.

Illinois athletes head to Tokyo for an unusual Olympics — but without their parents or support teams: “I understand the reasoning behind it, but I feel so bad for my mom and dad,” said [David] Kendziera, a Mount Prospect native and former University of Illinois standout. “Do you know how many hours they’ve spent sitting in bleachers during track meets, only to see me run a race that’s over in a few seconds? Or how many shoes they’ve bought me? Or how many practices they’ve driven me to? This is their moment too.” By Tribune’s Stacy St. Clair, who will be covering the Games in Japan.

Bustos on women athletes having a greater voice on the political scene: “Women are at the point where they’re not going to sit back and think in that old-fashioned way of being lady-like and just taking it. I think we’re at an age in 2021 that when women see something that needs correcting, they’re going to say something,” Rep. Cheri Bustos told Women Rule.

Illinoisans can legally bet on the Olympics this year, by Center Square’s Kevin Bessler

Saving the Thompson Center requires boldness worthy of its architect: “While the state looks for top dollar, an architecture group has called for ideas for preservation,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.

The next inflation driver to worry about: “The wholesale price of natural gas — in the Chicago area the key commodity that sets the price of power in addition to keeping homes and businesses warm in the winter—is double what it was a year ago,” reports Crain’s Steve Daniels.

Illinois tops the list for sustainable development: “Site Selection magazine rates Illinois tops in sustainable development, as businesses can easily find LEED-certified buildings and access renewable energy,” by WTAX’s Dave Dahl.

Soybean leader keeps his feet on the ground and in the air, by Illinois Farmer Today’s Nat Williams

What’s at stake in ward remap: “A City Council ward map based solely on Chicago’s demographics would add two Latino-majority wards and one predominantly white ward, while subtracting three Black-majority wards and creating three new wards with Asian American majorities. But that’s not how aldermen will redraw ward boundaries over the next few months. City demographics are only one factor they’ll consider in redesigning wards for the next 10 years. … Aldermen want lines that will protect their own incumbency and keep certain voting blocs or developments in their wards,” by Crain’s A.D. Quig.

— Opinion: GOP should challenge remap in state court, writes Jim Nowlan in Effingham Daily News.

Pete Buttigieg spotlights Red Line South extension while in Chicago to push for Biden infrastructure deal: “[I]n choosing to highlight a project that would expand public transit access to tens of thousands of low-income Chicagoans on the city’s predominantly Black South Side, Buttigieg also contended the infrastructure package before Congress could help make the nation’s transportation more equitable,” writes Tribune’s Bill Ruthhart.

Chicago police describe “total burnout” after canceled days off and 12-hour shifts: “First a pandemic and scrutiny over police brutality. Now, police say long hours are hurting efforts to improve officer mental health,” by WBEZ’s Patrick Smith.

Lightfoot proposal delays a showdown on police oversight: Mayor Lori Lightfoot has put forward a revised civilian oversight ordinance as part of an effort “to empower a civilian oversight board to fire Chicago’s police superintendent and have the final say on police spending and policy.” And Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) says the plan comes “extremely close” to the compromise endorsed by the Black, Hispanic and Progressive caucuses. The City Council votes Tuesday. Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman reports.

Some police push back on bail reform, citing wave of killings: Law enforcement increasingly calling on judges to hold more violent suspects pending trial; Advocates say pretrial release is responsible for only a small number of crimes, by Wall Street Journal’s Joe Barrett in Chicago,

CPS will spend more than $9B this school year. Five things to know about where it will go, how Covid relief money will be used: “The $7.82 billion operating budget calls for new hires. Extra staff would include 334 teachers, 400 custodians, 78 nurses, 44 social workers, four school administrators and more bus aides to help with social distancing,” by Tribune’s Tracy Swartz.

Law Department paralegal collected $14,250 in jobless benefits during pandemic — while working for the city, IG says:Retiring Inspector General Joe Ferguson exposed the fraud in his quarterly report released Friday,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

The housing boom has finally arrived in Chatham: “This South Side neighborhood, long a Black middle-class stronghold, was hit hard by the foreclosure crisis. But now, homes are selling at prices not seen in years,” by Crain’s Dennis Rodkin.

Irish Christian Brothers fall short on revealing true extent of sexual abuse by its members: “The Catholic religious order, which runs two high schools in the Chicago area, agreed to reforms as it faced bankruptcy as a result of sex abuse lawsuits. But its transparency is limited,” by Sun-Times’ Robert Herguth.

‘Big mystery box’ revealed South Side man’s long-secret World War II near-death odyssey: “James ‘Bud’ Wilschke’s WWII escapes are detailed in ‘Bud’s Jacket,’ a book by his niece, who recounts his bailing from a burning plane, hiding from the Nazis for 6 months,” by Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito.

Protesters gather at Buckingham Fountain to support Cuban fight against communism, by Tribune’s Zach Harris.

Chicago Sculpture Exhibit, which was founded by former Ald. Vi Daley in 2001 and is chaired by Pam Cullerton, the wife of the former Senate president, will see a new piece of art unveiled today at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Halsted Street in Chicago. “Thought Vortex” by Chicago artist Gwen Yen Chiu is a 12-foot-tall aluminum sculpture that depicts the center of a tornado. The piece was made possible through a CSE award named after acclaimed artist and Chicago native Richard Hunt.

Arlington Park may be worth more than the assessments: “No one is saying” how much was offered for the four contiguous parcels that make up the 326-acre Arlington International Racecourse that’s for sale, by Daily Herald’s Jake Griffin.

Board of Review benches employee who allegedly took bribes for property tax breaks: “Commissioners of the county agency called the alleged bribery scheme “abhorrent” and said they “are committed to fully cooperating” with the ongoing federal investigation,” via Sun-Times.

Weed cultivation centers grow jobs in rural Illinois: “Though Chicago has yet to see its share of marijuana grow sites, economically hard-hit small towns around the state are getting a boost from the industry,” by Crain’s John Pletz.

Cook County’s chief judge announces expanded capacity for jury trials as Covid-19 guidelines loosen: Beginning this week, “Beginning next week, there will be 86 courtrooms in the county available for trials, 76 of which can be used for juries, thanks to reduced social-distancing guidelines, according to a news release from Evans’ office,” by Tribune’s Megan Crepeau.

Former Ald. Proco ‘Joe’ Moreno gets ‘second chance’ after pleading guilty in felony case: “Moreno, 49, was sentenced to ‘second chance’ probation as part of a deal with prosecutors, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said,” by Sun-Times’ Matthew Hendrickson.

Winndye Hoover, wife of Gangster Disciples founder Larry Hoover, holds onto hope for his eventual release:A judge’s recent ruling denying Hoover a reduction under the federal First Step Act of his life sentence hit her hard. But she still has faith that one day he’ll get out of prison,” by Sun-Times’ Mary Mitchell.

Kinzinger charts path from Illinois to new political battlefield: “No, we’re not winning,” Kinzinger said. “Do I see signs of progress? Yes. There’s a sense that though Trump goes out and speaks, he’s not getting the attention he (used to receive), people are ready to move on. What I worry about is that as Trump fades, Trumpism still stays.” Lee Enterprises’ Brenden Moore reports.

… Kinzinger’s gonna be a dad: Rep. Adam Kinzinger announced on Instagram over the weekend that he and wife Sofia are expecting “Baby Kinzinger,” who will be “landing January 2022.” The highly stylized photo shows the couple kissing in front of a small plane. The Illinois congressman, who’s a former Air Force pilot, wrote: “New copilot, reporting for training soon!”

— Garcia criticized a federal court’s decision on DACA. On Friday, a federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from approving new applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — but current DACA recipients will remain unaffected for now, according to POLITICO. “It’s infuriating that the future of DACA recipients is always tied to a roller coaster of court rulings… Immigrants like these young people deserve a permanent solution, and today’s decision highlights the urgent need to create a path to citizenship,” Rep. Chuy Garcia said in a statement.

Newman on Marjorie Taylor Greene: ‘I hope she gets help’: “Honestly, I just ignore her and block her out. She’s not a serious member of Congress, and I’m there to do very serious business,” Rep. Marie Newman said during the Sun-Times’ “At the Virtual Table” show.

Pence flatlines as 2024 field takes shape, by POLITICO’s David Siders

‘It’s ceding a lot of terrain to us’: Biden goes populist with little pushback, by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago and Meridith McGraw

NATO’s next mission: find a new boss, by POLITICO’s David Herszenhorn

Postponed weddings, stockpiled insulin and Covid: The bizarre life of Texas Democrats in exile, by POLITICO’s Zach Montellaro

Democrats look to crush states’ highway habit, by POLITICO’s Sam Mintz

Veteran aide becomes interim U.S. envoy in Tokyo pending Rahm Emanuel’s arrival, via Nikkei Asia

— Max Beaver is the new Public Information director for the Chicago Board of Elections. He previously was deputy director of comms for the ACLU of Illinois.

— Tamara Reed Tran and Suresh Sharma have joined BPI as managing director of development and external relations and managing director of finance and operations, respectively.

‘The cultural loss is staggering’: Lisle man’s YouTube channel aims to preserve Chicago TV shows and commercials before they vanish, writes Tribune’s John Keilman.

Susan Mogerman remembered as a force behind Lincoln presidential library & museum inception: A Chicago native and longtime Springfield resident, Mogerman is “described as a major force behind the inception of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, was remembered as a tireless advocate for Springfield,” by State Journal-Register’s Dean Olsen.

Susann Craig, outsider art collector who also collected adventures and friends, dead at 84: “You just wanted to be around her,” architect Jeanne Gang says of the woman who helped found Intuit, Chicago’s museum of outsider and self-taught art, and owned three boutiques. Sun-Times’ Maureen O’Donnell and Madeline Kenney report.

FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Illinois House Democratic staff Jon Maxson and attorney Dan Balanoff, who’s running for a Cook County Circuit Court judge seat, for correctly answering that Professor Irwin Corey was the comic who starred in former Gov. Jim Edgar’s campaign ad that accused opponent Neil Hartigan of waffling.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Who were the tie-breaking commissioners selected to serve on Illinois’ redistricting commissions in 1991 and 2001? Email to [email protected]

Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, Cook County Judge Fredrick Bates, Illinois Channel executive director Terry Martin, former U.S. Attorney Ron Safer, and Aurora Health government relations director Crystal Olsen.


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