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A big bash for both sides of the aisle

With help from Olivia Olander

Happy Wednesday, Illinois. We’re off Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving but will be back in your inbox Monday. Have a safe holiday, eggnog et al.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot talks with MBA candidate Marko Supronyuk during the Serafin holiday party at Butch McGuire’s. | POLITICO’s Shia Kapos

A receiving line formed to greet Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday at the annual Serafin & Associates holiday party at Butch McGuire’s. It was the first live gathering for the event since Covid gripped the past few holidays.

Thanksgiving Day plans: In between posing for photos and talking to guests, Lightfoot told Playbook that she plans on “cooking the whole schmear” for her security detail, including turkey and some sides. “I’ve got my apron picked out, and my comfortable shoes.”

Other big political names who popped into the holiday party included Congressman Bobby Rush, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, Secretary of State Jesse White, Secretary of State-elect Alexi Giannoulias, Illinois House Minority Leader Tony McCombie, state Reps. Jim Durkin, Tom Demmer (both Republicans) and state Rep. Lamont Robinson (a Democrat running for alderman in the 4th Ward), Ald. Sophia King (running for mayor), Ald. Gilbert Villegas, Ald. Howard Brookins Jr., Ald. Timmy Knudsen, MWRD Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos and New Trier Committeeman Dean Maragos.

Political operatives were there, too, including Strategia Consulting’s Lissa Druss, political consultants Aviva Bowen and Enza Raineri, former Illinois GOP leader Pat Brady and political operative Richard Streetman, who took selfies with folks as they entered the bar on Chicago’s Division Street.

Everyone tries to let their guard down at the holiday party thrown by the Serafin public affairs team. The event is a tradition as folks on both sides of the political aisle come together to kick off the holiday season. But with so many media and political players all in one place, most conversations began with the phrase, “This is off the record, but….”

News mavens in the room: Tribune’s Chris Jones, Rick Kogan and Rick Pearson, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin editor Andrea Hanis, Better Government Association President David Greising, Crain’s Greg Hinz, WTTW’s Heather Cherone, journalists Derrick Blakley and Eric Krol and online columnist John Kass.

Also on the scene: Chicago Foundation for Women CEO Felicia Davis Blakley, Gilda’s Club CEO LauraJane Hyde, Grown In CEO Brad Spirrison, Israeli Consulate Public Affairs Director Mike Warren, United Airlines Local and State Affairs Director Kristopher Anderson, attorney Tony Romanucci, PR pro Kim Shepherd, BNSF Railway government affairs exec Peter Skosey and American Medical Association VP of communications Justin DeJong.

ELITE CLUB |Black mayors are running the four largest cities for the first time: When Karen Bass is sworn in as mayor of Los Angeles, it means Black mayors will be running the nation’s four largest cities. Bass joins Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, Eric Adams of New York and Sylvester Turner of Houston.

“Anytime we get a new mayor, it’s exciting,” Frank Scott, the Democratic mayor of Little Rock, Ark., told POLITICO. “But to have another mayor, a Black woman, who’s going to lead one of our nation’s major cities? That’s a big deal.”

POLITICO’s Brakkton Booker notes: “This marks the first time these major metropolises will simultaneously be led by African Americans — and it may be for just a brief period. The leadership acumen of big city mayors is being tested now in how they address issues ranging from upticks in crime, to a sagging economy and high inflation, to housing affordability and homelessness.”

If you’re Thom Serafin, we’d like to hear your tips on how to hold a successful holiday party. Email [email protected].

No official public events.

No official public events. 

No official public events.

Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: [email protected]

— Rep. ‘Chuy’ García reports $600,000 haul in first campaign contribution filing of mayoral run: “García’s fundraising disclosure shows he can raise campaign cash without the unions that endorsed his 2015 mayoral race against Rahm Emanuel, but it remains to be seen whether García can sustain the momentum,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt and Alice Yin.

— 14th Ward intrigue: Ald. Edward Burke hasn’t turned in petition signatures (He has until Monday if he’s running), but Raul Reyes, a Burke ally, has, according to the Chicago Board of Elections. And so has Jeylu Gutierrez, the district director for Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya. Another name that was floated as being a possible candidate, Miriam Gutierrez, told Playbook she is not running and never had plans to run.

— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: The Illinois Democratic Party is looking for a new executive director as Interim Executive Director Ben Hardin’s term expires at year’s end. The party has pulled together a search committee made up of Democratic State Central Committee members, including Ald. Michelle Harris, state Rep. Delia Ramirez,Carol Ronen, Michael Cudzik and Glenn Poshard.

 — Trump ally Mark Vargas calls for Illinois GOP Chair Don Tracy to resign, via Illinois Review

— Words of Conviction: “After her baby died in the night, a young mother called 911. Police thought they could read her mind by listening. Now she’s haunted by the words she chose. … The case against Jessica Logan illustrates the fragility of long-established legal protections meant to guard against junk science and its impact on families,” writes ProPublica’s Brett Murphy in this criminal justice deep dive.

— In post-Roe America, an underground railroad for abortion takes flight: “Elevated Access, a fledgling Illinois nonprofit, has recruited nearly 1,000 volunteer small-craft pilots to ferry people seeking abortion care,” by Elly Fishman for WBEZ.

— Prompted by Highland Park shooting, state police change policies on gun seizures, by Daily Herald’s Doug T. Graham

— No new property taxes as Rockford passes $193.1M budget, by MyStateline’s Jack Baudoin.

— Video: Departing Secretary of State Jesse White discusses his life in public service, via NBC 5

— Flagpole removed from Old State Capitol: “Replacing the manually controlled flagpole with an automated one will improve safety for workers who raise and lower the flag to half-staff or full staff when occasions call for it,” by Capitol News’ Peter Hancock.

— City to provide $500 cash payments to thousands of residents: “Specifically households that filed 2019 taxes with claimed dependents 17-years and older,” writes WGN’s Marisa Rodriguez.

— How Lynn Osmond plans to bring conventions and tourists back to Chicago: “She says Chicago’s strongest selling points have always been the vitality of its hotels and restaurants and its arts and culture scene. That’s why she is focused on convincing event clients and tourists that crime is not out of control and that downtown remains vibrant. She is quick to point out, among other positives, that Chicago was recently named the ‘best big city in the U.S.’ by Conde Nast Traveler for the sixth consecutive year,” by Crain’s Danny Ecker.

— Surge of winter sickness likely on its way, city’s top doc says, by Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito

— Chicago cultures come together for Mexico-Poland World Cup match: ‘It’s all love at the end of the day,’ by Sun-Times’ Michael Loria and David Struett

— Her family survived the Holocaust. Now, she’s helping a Muslim refugee family start anew in Chicago, including hosting their first Thanksgiving, by Tribune’s Angie Leventis Lourgos

— Gilbert Villegas, the 36th Ward Chicago alderman, has been elected to the National League of Cities board of directors by members at the organization’s 2022 City Summit in Kansas City, Mo. Villegas was elected to a two-year term and will focus on federal advocacy, governance and membership activities.

— Gold Rush lands early victory in ongoing lawsuit against VGT rival Accel: “The case revolves around two loans equaling $30 million Gold Rush took from Accel in July 2019. The loan agreements included options for Accel to convert the loans into an equity stake in Gold Rush should the company not be able to pay back the loan, even though Accel CEO Andy Rubenstein allegedly assured Gold Rush owner Rick Heidner that the provision would not be enforced,” via Casino.org.

— Former employees sue Medline Industries, claiming they were wrongly fired for refusing Covid vaccine, by Cook County Record’s Jonathan Bilyk

— CPD officer who shot man after struggle at busy Red Line station in 2020 found not guilty in bench trial, by Tribune’s Madeline Buckley

— CTA closes bus stops near Obama Center site, but they’re still being used despite unsafe conditions, by Block Club’s Maxwell Evans

— Two Chicago area sisters sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to joining the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, via Sun-Times staff

— U.S. Capitol rioter made suicidal comments before crash that killed Skokie woman, by Sun-Times’ Emmanuel Camarillo

We asked for your family’s immigration story:

Michael Lieber: “My great-grandparents immigrated from Eastern Europe in the 1900s. At least one came without papers, thankfully, because she likely would have been killed in the Holocaust otherwise.”

Dave Lundy: “My grandfather and namesake fled Poland when he got drafted into the Polish Army because in those days Jews were often used as cannon fodder. He settled in Pittsburgh where he became a butcher.”

Ed Mazur: “My father immigrated from Bialystok, Poland, after serving in the Polish Army in World War I. After becoming a U.S. citizen, he returned to Poland to visit and met the woman he would marry and bring back to America.”

Michael Negron: “My mother came from Guatemala as a 19-year-old in the late 1960s without documentation and in the winter. She had never been somewhere so cold! She became a citizen when she married my father, who came to Chicago in the 1950s from Puerto Rico when he was 14. He had to drop out of school to get a job shortly after arriving so he never completed high school.”

Phil Zeni: “My paternal grandparents lived 10 miles apart in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of Italy. They arrived separately in 1915 and 1916 in West Virginia, where they met and married.”

What moment in your life still makes you cringe? Email [email protected]

— Drones over D.C.: Senators alarmed over potential Chinese spy threat, by POLITICO’s Bryan Bender and Andrew Desiderio

— Biden’s generation is ceding the stage as he plots his next act, by POLITICO’s Jonathan Lemire

— Biden extends pause on student loan payments amid legal limbo for debt cancellation, by POLITICO’s Michael Stratford

— ‘He saved a lot of lives’: Combat veteran tackled Colorado gunman: “I grabbed the gun out of his hand and just started hitting him in the head, over and over,” Richard Fierro told The New York Times. “As the fight continued, he said, he yelled for other club patrons to help him. A man grabbed the rifle and moved it away to safety. A drag performer stomped on the gunman with high heels. The whole time, Fierro said, he kept pummeling the shooter’s head while the two men screamed obscenities at each other,” via The New York Times.

— Kelvin Moore named new general manager of McCormick Place: He succeeds industry veteran David Causton, who is retiring. Moore will be the first African American to hold the post, reports Sun-Times’ David Roeder.

— Eugenia Orr has been named chief of external affairs for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. She’ll lead the office’s communications and community engagement divisions. Orr joined the office last month, replacing Cristina Villarreal, who left for the private sector. Orr, who has a doctorate in education, had worked for the City of Chicago director of public affairs for the Chicago Department of Housing.

— Scott Smith is now chief deputy assessor (i.e., chief of staff) in the Cook County Assessor’s Office. He most recently headed up communications for the office. Smith is a 2022 fellow of the Civic Leadership Academy.

— Lin Brehmer returns to WXRT airwaves Monday after taking a medical sabbatical, via WXRT.

— Monday at 11:30 a.m.: Former Vice President Mike Pence headlines a discussion at Union League Club of Chicago about his new book, “So Help Me God,” with Tribune’s Rick Pearson. Details here

TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Centralia House Restaurant, founded in 1854, is still open and was frequented back in the day by Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Sherman.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the first presidential candidate that Abraham Lincoln publicly supported? Email [email protected] 

Today: Rep. Bobby Rush, Rep. Sean Casten, Democratic organizer Matthew Farrauto, Global EY Knowledge Team senior analyst Crystal Yednak, Metro West Council of Government Executive Director Lesli Melendy, Cook County Justice Advisory Council’s Kristina Kaupa, attorney Charlotte Coats, Republican strategist and blogger Patrick Pfingsten and architect Julie Gross.

Thursday: state Rep. Lakesia Collins, ComEd VP of governmental affairs Michael Fountain, Burling Builders founder Elzie Higginbottom, Turing Strategies political consultant John Kamis, Financial Health Network President & CEO Jennifer Tescher and music and media producer Lynn Orman Weiss.

Friday: Empower Illinois strategy director Juan Rangel, Genpact sales VP John Hergert, former Illinois Education Association’s Charles McBarron, former QB Donovan McNabb and South Chicagoland Region community health director Angela K. Waller.

Saturday: State Senate President Don Harmon, lobbyist and former state Rep. Louis Lang, Mac Strategies Group’s Ryan McLaughlin, Resolute Public Affairs EVP Rob Nash, Cresco Labs EVP John Sullivan, software entrepreneur and former CPS CEO Ron Huberman and e-Drop-Off founder Corri McFadden.

Sunday: NielsenIQ comms manager Jose I. Sanchez, Cor Strategies operations marshal Ryan Kilduff, educator Ted Wanberg and journalist Robert Reed.

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