Lester: Consultant turns post-election blues into help for female candidates
Among those lamenting Hillary Clinton's loss last week to Donald Trump, one woman noticed a common theme in Facebook and Twitter posts.
"I kept seeing people say, 'I don't know what to do with my frustration. I want to get involved, and I don't know how,'" says Szkatulski, a Wilmette native and New Trier High School alumna. That's when she decided to act on an idea that had been in the back of her mind for years.
Szkatulski this week launched Rodham Consulting -- a pro-bono consulting group taking up Clinton's maiden name as it aims to help women enter the political arena as candidates.
After an interested woman contacts the group, volunteers walk her through what it means to get involved and what the beginnings of a campaign might entail, whether that's for library board member, township supervisor, legislator or congresswoman.
Among the 30 volunteers is Allison Schraub.
Schaub, who previously worked for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and state Sen. Tom Cullerton's campaigns, is focusing her efforts on DuPage County, where she's from.
Illinois Community College presidents, including those from Harper College, Elgin Community College, the College of Lake County, College of DuPage and Oakton Community College, sent GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders on both sides an "enough is enough" letter this week, stressing that the state's budget impasse has placed their institutions "at a tipping point."
"If this impasse continues ... payrolls will not be met, programs will be closed, staff and faculty will be reduced to mere shells," the presidents wrote. "We can't use regulatory relief nor the repeal of unfunded mandates to pay our employees."
Lawmakers are expected to adjourn their first week of annual fall veto session today. The state has gone since July 2015 without a full-year budget in place, and a stopgap is set to expire in January.
You've heard a lot about a soda tax recently approved by the Cook County Board, which goes a long way in helping close a $174 million budget gap next fiscal year. But Board President Toni Preckwinkle also outlined some cutbacks this week as she proposed her $4.9 billion budget, including reducing operational costs of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System by $10 million by shifting funds into community-based outpatient clinical care, which is less expensive than emergency room visits. The county is also consolidating two warehouses, which is expected to save about $1.5 million and reduce the county's footprint by 495,000 square feet. It's also moving forward with a plan to demolish three buildings on the Department of Corrections Campus, which is expected to avoid $188 million in maintenance over the next decade.
McHenry County PADS is in "urgent need" of a Saturday night emergency shelter site for winter. Without a permanent shelter for the county, some local churches have been volunteering to house and feed homeless residents on designated days of the week. However, there's no site for Saturdays, when many of the churches have services or are preparing for Sunday services. On average, officials say, about three dozen men, women and children use the sites each night. People interested in learning how their churches can become involved can contact Erin Grima at firstname.lastname@example.org.