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Pritzker dines with Lightfoot, predicts ‘great relationship’

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, left, meets with the Sun-Times Editorial Board in February. File Photo. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times; Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot, right, speaks to reporters after meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel at City Hall on Wednesday. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Gov. J.B. Pritzker predicted Sunday he’ll have “a great relationship” with Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot — one that should certainly improve on the frosty four years endured by their predecessors.

Chicago’s incoming mayor dined with Illinois’ new governor late last week, days after Lightfoot’s landslide victory. Pritzker and First Lady M.K. Pritzker invited Lightfoot and her spouse, Amy Eshleman, to their Chicago home for dinner Friday, Lightfoot’s press secretary confirmed.

Lightfoot is also expected to visit Springfield this week.

“The relationship is a good one,” Pritzker said Sunday at an unrelated news conference. “She, you know, is very much an advocate for so many things that I think we all care about for the city of Chicago. We’re going to have a great relationship.”

Pritzker has ambitious plans to try to pass hugely impactful legislation by the end of the spring session, including gambling expansion, the legalization of marijuana and a graduated income tax.

It appears Lightfoot is on board with all of those issues. She also has her own packed list of Springfield priorities, including pushing for an elected school board for Chicago — a measure that’s been stalled in the Illinois House since 2017.

Lightfoot is supportive of a graduated income tax and plans to “work closely with the Pritzker administration to facilitate its passage and implementation,” her campaign said last week. And she supports a Chicago casino — with the money being used to help benefit “people and neighborhoods that have been neglected by city government far too long.”

Like Lightfoot, Pritzker is a newcomer to politics and just took office in January. His one-term predecessor, Republican Bruce Rauner, often found himself trading barbs with outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“We had four years where the mayor and the governor didn’t talk to one another,” Pritzker noted Sunday.

The governor said he was often asked during the mayoral campaign who he would support. But he explained that, “what’s important is, is the governor going to work with the mayor, and will the mayor work with the governor?”

“Already, I can tell, we will,” Pritzker said.

Contributing: Tina Sfondeles