Government Affairs Roundup
“Your Timely Roundup of Local, State, and Federal Updates”

Chamber members:

Americans headed to the polls in elections forecasted to reshape the leadership of our nation. How did that turnout? If you haven’t kept up over the last 24 hours, I’ve got an attempt to give a (somewhat) brief review in the paragraphs below.

Also, big news on the local front from ARPA Funds as Will County has opened the application process for aid to businesses impacted by the pandemic.

*Government Affairs Roundup brought to you by CITGO & Silver Cross Hospital*

Federal, State, and Local Election Coverage
“Nothing is over until it’s actually over” certainly came into play last night and will continue until all votes and reviews are completed. With that said, most races can declare safe winners as of today. On the Federal level, representing us here in Illinois, we start with Senator Tammy Duckworth being reelected. Control of the Senate still hangs in the balance this morning as it appeared to continue to be split 48-48 with tight races in Georgia (heading to a December runoff), Arizona, Nevada, and then Wisconsin just about called as of this typing to push Republicans 49-48. So it should be interesting to see how this plays out for the majority or to end up where it all started to be deadlocked at 50-50 once again.

On the house side, the majority of our area will now be represented by current Congresswoman Lauren Underwood of the 14th as her district shifts more to Joliet, while Rep. Bill Foster looks to continue on representing the 11th district, but also impacted by redistricting, moving more north and west. It looks as if Republicans will take over power and leadership of the House, but not in the wave as predicted.

While results are not official until certified by the Illinois State Board of Elections on Dec. 5, the Associated Press called the race for Governor Pritzker instantly upon closure of the polls at 7 p.m. As of about 10 p.m., unofficial results showed Pritzker with a lead of about 54-42 percent with 65 percent of precincts reporting. About 8 p.m., Governor Pritzker addressed the crowd at the Marriott Marquis in Chicago.

Last night, it was reported that Democrats were poised to hold all statewide offices, and this morning it appears clear each of those races will be won by percentage points in the double digits. That includes incumbents Kwame Raoul as Attorney General, Susana Mendoza as Comptroller, Michael Frerichs as Treasurer, and Alexi Giannoulias as Secretary of State replacing the retiring Jesse White.

Democrats also looked to retain the majority on the State Supreme Court with a win for Judge Elizabeth Rochford over former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran. They should pick up the second seat that was in play, with Judge Mary Kay O’Brien holding a lead of about 8,000 votes against Republican incumbent Michael Burke as of this morning.

Republicans had viewed the Supreme Court as their best opportunity to wrest power from Democrats in Illinois, but the high court could be poised for a 5-2 Democratic majority. It will also see its first majority of women judges in its history.

Both chambers of the General Assembly appear to have safely held supermajorities for Democrats, with House Democrats appearing poised to pick up at least four seats, bringing them to at least 77 of the 118 in the chamber with some races still up in the air.

That’s led to a shake-up for the House’s long-serving minority leader, Rep. Jim Durkin of Western Springs. He has been the minority leader since 2013 but will step aside for his caucus to choose a new leader. “It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as leader of the House Republican caucus, but it’s time for the Illinois Republican Party to rebuild with new leaders who can bring independents back to the party that are needed to bring change to the state,” Durkin said in a statement.  “I began this journey as a voice of moderation and conclude this journey the same way I started, a voice of moderation.”

Local election winners include Democrats Larry Walsh, Jr. in the 86th, Natalie Manley in the 98th, Dagmara Avelar in the 85th, and newcomer Harry Benton in the 97th.

In the Senate, Republicans might have gained a seat or two, but the Democrats had five votes to spare in their supermajority heading into the election, so the 38 seats, at least, that they will maintain will cement their supermajority as well.

Local election winners include Democrats Meg Loughran Cappel in the 49th and newcomer Rachel Ventura in the 43rd.

A constitutional amendment to ban right-to-work laws will still need some more vote counting before it can be called. Amendments can pass with 60 percent support from those voting on the question or a simple majority of the total votes cast in the election. As of this morning it looks to be slightly over 59%. So it’s possible it passes with a little more than the 60 percent threshold, but the number needed won’t be known until more votes are counted.

Finally, some really tight ones in the county races covering four offices and all districts of the county board. Incumbents Lauren Staley-Ferry (Clerk), Tim Brophy (Treasurer), Shawn Walsh (Regional Superintendent of Schools), and Mike Kelley (Sheriff) were running for reelection. As of this morning vote counts favor only Staley-Ferry as being reelected.  A few races are less than a few hundred votes apart.

All new 11 county board districts were in play with two individuals being elected per district for a new board makeup of 22 in total. As of this morning it appears that the board will be split 11 – 11. These races and the county offices can certainly change after all votes have been counted as mentioned above, so we’ll keep you updated with final results as they are made official.

*Please excuse any omissions or errors*

Will County is committed to supporting the response to and recovery from COVID-19. The County, using the allocation of over $134 million from the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF), a part of the American Rescue Plan, has dedicated $10 million to both support programs addressing negative economic impacts of the pandemic (including housing, financial services, and education programs) and to provide direct aid to industries impacted by the pandemic (including businesses and non-profits).

Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and County Board leadership announced the open application period for American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to support economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. The County has dedicated $10 million of ARPA funding for an Economic Development Grant Program that addresses the negative impact of the pandemic and provides direct aid to impacted industries.

“These funds are an historic investment into our local economy, households, and businesses,” said County Executive Bertino-Tarrant. “I invite organizations, non-profits, and small businesses to apply for this grant opportunity.”

The Will County Executive Committee voted in September to establish the grant program, which is separated into two categories of programs that support impacted households and direct aid to impacted industries.

More Workers Get Side Hustles to Keep Up with Rising Costs
As the holidays approach and America’s full-time workers feel pinched by inflation, some are turning to second jobs to supplement their incomes.

The October jobs report shows the number of Americans working part-time jobs in addition to their full-time jobs has increased 6%, year-over-year, to 4.5 million people, according to statistics from the Labor Department. With unemployment at 3.7%, the job market is still strong but is showing more signs of cooling. Inflation is still eclipsing wage gains, driving some full-time workers to consider getting additional part-time jobs for the first time in their working lives.

Nearly three-quarters of workers said they need additional work to make enough income due to inflation, according to an October survey of more than 1,700 U.S.-based employees by job search website A separate survey of more than 4,700 people conducted by Prudential Financial Inc. found 81% of Gen-Z and 77% of millennial workers said they have pursued gig work or are considering additional side work this year to supplement their income.

Some recruiters say it isn’t just blue-collar workers seeking extra work this year. People in professional jobs are starting to look for additional income too, said Jennifer Knippenberg, chief recruiting officer of staffing firm Kelly Services Inc. In prior years, one of 100 white-collar professionals were looking for a second job—now it’s one in 30, she added.

Even though the number of full-time workers holding second part-time jobs is nearly back to prepandemic levels, the chronic staff shortages in retail and hospitality mean there are still a lot of traditional part-time jobs open, said Jim McCoy, senior vice president of enterprise solutions at ManpowerGroup, which offers temporary-staffing services. Sometimes, there are even perks.

Utility Work to Require I-80 Lane Closures Over Next Couple of Weeks
The Illinois Department of Transportation recently announced that testing to a utility pipeline along Interstate 80, in Joliet, will require the following temporary daytime lane closures, weather permitting, over the next couple of weeks:

Thursday, Nov. 10

  • Westbound I-80, between Midland and Larkin avenues
  • Left lane will be closed between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 14, through Wednesday, Nov. 16

  • Westbound I-80, between Houbolt/Hollywood Road and Larkin Avenue
  • Right lane will be closed between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Motorists can expect delays and should allow extra time for trips through this area. Drivers are urged to pay close attention to flaggers and signs in the work zones, obey the posted speed limits and be on the alert for workers and equipment.

For more information on IDOT projects, click here. Find traffic and road conditions at You also can follow IDOT on Facebook and Twitter.

Bridge Street Closure During Overnight Hours, Between Broadway Street and Bluff Street
Nicor will be completing overnight construction work on Bridge Street at Bluff Street to complete the installation of a new natural gas transmission line. Bridge Street will be closed between Broadway Street and Bluff Street during construction hours.  Construction hours will be from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Detour routes will be posted. Construction work is expected to be completed by Friday, November 11.

Drivers are advised to reduce speed, exercise caution, and seek alternate routes when traveling in the area.  For additional information, please contact the City of Joliet Department of Public Works at 815-724-4200.

Houbolt Road Closure, Between US Route 6 and Mound Road, Extended Through Sunday, November 13, 2022
Due to inclement weather, the Houbolt Road Reconstruction Project – Road Closure, between US Route 6 and Mound Road, will continue through Sunday, November 13, 2022.  New lanes are expected to reopen on Monday, November 14. (Previously scheduled to reopen on November 7.) 

A full road closure is required to allow for the CSX Railroad Company to reconstruct the railroad crossing.  All ramps at the interchange of Houbolt Road and I-80 will remain open, as well as the intersection of Houbolt Road and Mound Road.

A detour has been posted that utilizes Houbolt Road, McDonough Street, Larkin Avenue, and US Route 6.  During the closure, two new permanent concrete lanes will be paved on the east side of Houbolt Road, between US Route 6 and Mound Road.  Upon the reopening of Houbolt Road, traffic will be moved on to the new lanes.

Motorists are advised to exercise caution and seek alternate routes when traveling in the area.  For further information, contact the City of Joliet Public Works Department at 815-724-4200.

Stay well,

Mike Paone
Executive Vice President
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
815.727.5371 main
815.727.5373 direct