WASHINGTON — In her first Illinois swing as a member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will visit, among other places, the Braidwood Nuclear power plant and Fermilab on Thursday and Friday.
Her stops, which will also include an event with Gov. J.B. Pritzker, are part of the Biden administration’s push to send Cabinet members on the road to highlight local benefits of the new Infrastructure law and to bolster support for the pending Build Back Better measure, with massive provisions for social and climate change programs.
On Thursday, Granholm, a former Michigan governor, will tour the Gar Creek solar project in Kankakee and meet with local union workers and local residents in Kankakee County and visit the Braidwood plant, 20 miles southwest of Joliet.
On Friday, she hits Fermilab in Batavia, the national particle physics and accelerator laboratory. Pritzker and Democratic House members from Illinois, Rep. Lauren Underwood, Rep. Bill Foster, Rep. Sean Casten, Rep. Marie Newman and Rep. Bobby Rush, the chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Energy subcommittee, will join her.
TONI PRECKWINKLE IN D.C.
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle travels to Washington on Wednesday for a National Association of Counties meeting where a focus will be COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts and the millions in cash counties will get from the infrastructure law.
I asked Preckwinkle the Cook County priorities in using the historic amounts of infrastructure cash — she’s not sure how much yet — that will be flowing to the county.
The top two:
*Digital equity. That takes in using funds for broadband access and devices as well as bolstering the fiber optic infrastructure along the I-57 corridor.
*Water pipe replacement. This includes dangerous lead pipes and aging non-lead pipes in the county.
Preckwinkle, the chair of the Cook County Democratic Party, said she is not doing any political fundraising while she is in town, through Saturday.
SENATE CONFIRMS GREGORY HARRIS: WILL BE FIRST BLACK U.S. ATTORNEY IN CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
The Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed Gregory Harris to be the new U.S. Attorney in the Central District of Illinois.
He will be the first Black U.S. Attorney from the Central District, and his nomination and confirmation are part of the priority Biden is making on diversifying the ranks of judges and prosecutors.
Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin was able to expedite the Harris confirmation by requesting it be handled as a “unanimous consent” matter, meaning there were no objections from either side of the aisle.
Durbin and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, both Illinois Democrats, said in a joint statement, “Having served for nearly 30 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, more than a decade in private practice, and several years in the Illinois Office of the State Appellate Defender, Greg Harris is well-qualified and an excellent choice to take on the role as U.S. Attorney in the Central District of Illinois.”
Harris received his law degree from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law (formerly known as The John Marshall Law School) in 1976. He graduated from Howard University in 1971.