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PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Tue Mar 12, 2013

Marriage Equality Could Be A Major Boost For Illinois' Struggling Economy

For a state that is in dire fiscal circumstances, passing the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act in Illinois, which would legalize same-sex marriage, would generate between $54 million and $103 million in new spending over the first three years, according to a new report.

Quick Hit
by Nathan Greenhalgh
Fri Mar 8, 2013

Jon Huntsman Says GOP Must Become More Progressive

Republican presidential primary candidate Jon Huntsman said it's time his party adopt a more progressive stance on a number of issues at the University of Chicago Thursday evening.

At the event, organized by the university’s Institute of Politics, the former Utah governor and U.S. ambassador to China under the Obama administration took questions from journalist and Fox News contributor Juan Williams as well as the audience. In his answers, Huntsman described himself as a solid Republican, but was strongly critical of the direction his party has taken, adding that its doubtful that the GOP will find electoral success in future elections if they do not change.

“The minute we start to divorce fact and science from our public policy debate, we are adrift,” Huntsman said. “If Republicans are going to succeed long-term, we have to be the party of reality.”

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Fri Mar 8, 2013

Labor Union Leaders Join Fight For Immigration Reform (VIDEO)

Labor union leaders gathered yesterday to demand comprehensive immigration reform, joining in the fight for America’s more than 11 million undocumented immigrants.

With a list of recommendations for legislators to incorporate into a comprehensive immigration reform package, leaders from two of the nation’s largest labor unions came together for an approximately 100-person rally with community members, undocumented immigrants and the Chicago Federation of Labor at the Instituto del Progreso Latino (IDPL) yesterday.

Joseph Hansen, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), and Richard Trumka, president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), called for a “clear path to citizenship” for undocumented workers.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Mon Mar 4, 2013

Illinois Business Leaders Call On Counterparts To Support Immigration Reform

It is economically imperative for America, and the Midwest specifically, to further embrace immigrant populations into its workforce, according to a panel of Illinois’ business executives who urged immigration reform today at The Chicago Club.

The panel, which was comprised of members of the Chicago Council On Global Affairs’ Task Force on Immigration and U.S. Economic Competitiveness, introduced a recent report (PDF) that discusses the role of immigrants in the corporate sector. The group also encouraged members of The Chicago Club to support economic policies that would advance immigrants in the job sector.

“We as a nation must work harder to attract and retain immigrant talent and avoid wasting the potential of the immigrants already here,” the report reads. “Our problem: the nation’s broken immigration system is holding back the region’s economic growth and clouding its future.”

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Mar 4, 2013

Schakowsky, Local Residents Sign Covenant Calling For Comprehensive Immigration Reform (VIDEO)

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D, IL-9), faith-based leaders and immigrant advocates broke bread together and signed a covenant Sunday in support of comprehensive and compassionate immigration reform.

The covenant calls for an immigration plan that includes support of family unity and integration, a pathway to citizenship, protection of all human rights and an increased focus on addressing the root causes of migration.

“There is a growing realization in Washington that immigration can no longer be pushed to the back burner,” Schakowsky said at the event sponsored by the Chicago New Sanctuary Coalition at the St. Nicholas Parish in Evanston.

PI Original
by Ashlee Rezin
Wed Feb 20, 2013

Gingrich, Axelrod Talk Politics, Demographics & The Future Of The Republican Party

In front of a more than 600-person audience, former speaker of the house and Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich sat down for a 90-minute conversation with former White House senior adviser, President Obama’s 2012 campaign manager, and new MSNBC correspondent David Axelrod at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics last night. Progress Illinois was there for the candid discussion.

Quick Hit
by Ashlee Rezin
Tue Feb 19, 2013

Chicago Immigration Reform Advocates Trek To D.C. To Call For Moratorium On Deportations

More than 250 advocates and immigrant workers, including approximately 60 members from the Latino Union of Chicago, met in Washington D.C. last week to make their voices heard by legislators and push for a moratorium on deportations while a deal on immigration reform is being hashed out.

On February 13, immigrant groups from across then nation, organized by the United Workers Congress, attended the first Senate hearing on immigration, met with U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D, IL-4), rallied on the Hill and met with legislators from their respective states.

Members of the Latino Union of Chicago met with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the bipartisan group of senators dubbed the Gang of Eight, to ask about features of their recently released proposal “Bipartisan Framework for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”

Quick Hit
by Steven Ross Johnson
Fri Feb 15, 2013

Advocates Call On Lawmakers To Have A Heart When It Comes To Federal Budget Cuts (VIDEO)

As the deadline looms for Congress to agree on a budget plan that would avoid an automatic series of spending cuts, a coalition of worker rights', veteran and anti-poverty advocates convened at Federal Plaza Thursday to voice their concerns over the potential negative impact such a move would have for the most vulnerable Americans.

More than $1 trillion in cuts over the next decade, known as sequestration, are set to go into effect March 1. According to a report released last September by the White House Office of Management and Budget, reductions would be made across the board, impacting more than 1,200 agencies and programs.

Singing such tunes as “Stop in the Name of Love”, some 40 to 50 protesters stood in the cold to give what organizers described as a “Valentine’s Day message” to both Illinois Democrat U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk to preserve funding for the country’s social safety net.