Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s fundraiser drawing 1,200, including L.A. Mayor Karen Bass and House Whip Katherine Clark as top speakers

Democrats will flock to Schakowsky’s ‘Ultimate Power Lunch’ in Chicago because it is a tremendous professional, personal and political networking opportunity

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On Friday, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., holds one of Illinois’ biggest political fundraisers, the “Ultimate Power Lunch,” with 1,200 donors expected to attend. It’s a networking opportunity for people running for office or who may one day run for office.

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., on Friday holds one of the biggest political fundraisers in Illinois, with 1,200 donors — mostly females — expected at her 22nd annual “Ultimate Women’s Power Lunch.”

The headline speakers are Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass — sworn-in on Dec. 12 — and Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., who became the new Democratic whip last fall, which makes her the No. 2 Democrat in the House. Schakowsky is one of the chief deputy whips.

Democrats flock to this lunch in part because it is a tremendous professional and personal networking opportunity, especially for folks running for office — or who may someday — who want to piggyback on Schakowsky’s extensive donor base.

Schakowsky’s congressional campaign fund will haul in hundreds of thousands of dollars from the event, at the Sheraton Grand Chicago, 301 E. North Water St., with tickets ranging from $150 to, for top sponsors, $6,600.

As for the program, Bass will be interviewed by Schakowsky. One of the areas the Evanston lawmaker wants to cover in the conversation is what advice the new mayor of Los Angeles — who is focusing on crime and homelessness — has for Chicago Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson.

Clark is not well known, and Schakowsky is eager to boost her profile. Clark’s leadership role includes raising money for the House Democratic political operation, and she will likely use this visit to do some prospecting for House Democratic coffers.

Clark, a former Wrigleyville resident, named son Addison Clark

Clark’s speech will key in on what Democrats have to do to win back the House in 2024.

Clark, an attorney, is no stranger to Chicago. She lived in the city for two years in the late 1980s when she was with the law firm of Keck, Mahin & Cate.

A former Wrigleyville resident, Clark attended the Cubs’ first night game on Aug. 8, 1988. She even named her first child Addison Clark, paying homage to Wrigley Field, at Addison and Clark streets.

When she takes the stage, Schakowsky plans to deliver some jabs at Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the force behind Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” laws and other attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.

Among the who’s who of top Chicago Democratic elected officials expected to attend: Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; House Democratic Reps. Lauren Underwood, Sean Casten, Robin Kelly, Delia Ramirez, Brad Schneider and Bill Foster. Plus, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle; Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton; and Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias.

Bass is friends with Mayor Lori Lightfoot; they just saw each other in Washington last month at a meeting of the African American Mayors Association.

Lightfoot has a scheduling conflict and cannot attend the Schakowsky lunch; she is reaching out to Bass to see if they can get together while the Los Angeles mayor is in Chicago. Johnson is not planning to attend.

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