Apr 19, 2023 - Politics

Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson goes to Springfield

Photo illustration of Brandon Johnson with lines radiating from him.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Jacek Boczarski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson will address the joint session of the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Even though Johnson won't be sworn in until next month, he's getting a jump on trying to get Springfield on board with his agenda for Chicago.

Be smart: Johnson has ties to state lawmakers. He worked for Senate President Don Harmon, and they'll share the stage at a press conference.

What's happening: Johnson is expected to address issues ranging from education and public safety to housing. He will also meet with several Democratic caucuses.

Context: This is standard operating procedure for mayors-elect. Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke to the Illinois House in April 2019 about her legislative agenda, which included passing a bill giving Chicago a casino.

What they're saying: "A strong relationship with the mayor of Chicago is vital in our goal to grow our state's economy and lift up people in all corners of Illinois," Illinois House Speaker Emanuel "Chris" Welch said in a statement.

What to expect from Johnson's speech:

🚨 Public safety: If Johnson hadn't planned on talking up public safety and policing, he definitely will do so now after last weekend's chaos downtown. Johnson will talk about what he thinks Chicago needs to deter crime and provide youth opportunities.

📚 School funding: Johnson will bring education experience to the mayor's office. His education plan calls for more funding for neighborhood public schools and higher pay for teachers.

  • He will need to persuade Springfield to provide more funding for those plans while also bridging a looming budget chasm for Chicago schools.

💰 Financial plan: Johnson met with Gov. JB Pritzker this month, unveiling his plan for adding a transaction tax for financial service companies. Pritzker came out against that proposal, saying it would prompt those companies to leave the state.

  • Still, all eyes are on Johnson to see whether he tries to appeal to the General Assembly.

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