CCAC eNews
March 2018
CCAC eNews is the monthly newsletter of the Chicago Central Area Committee. For more information about the CCAC or to inquire about membership, please contact Kelly O'Brien at (312) 602-5148 or
Download the 2018 Meeting Calendar!
The CCAC 2018 Meeting Calendar is ready to download in PDF format. The Calendar lists this year's dates and locations for our popular luncheon speaker series, hosted each month by a different CCAC member organization.
(NOTE: Locations subject to change--see website for newest calendar. Meetings open to paid members and guests, only.)
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CCAC Hears a Preview of the 2018 Primary Elections
CCAC would like to thank Michael Csar, Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, for hosting CCAC’s monthly luncheon on Tuesday, March 13th. The keynote speaker was Thom Serafin, CEO of Serafin & Associates, Inc., a communications and public affairs firm. Serafin was named one of the “20 Most Powerful Political Insiders” by Crain’s Chicago Business in 2015. Thom spoke about the current election season and his presentation was titled “From the Statehouse to Washington, D.C. and beyond.” He provided his unique insight on several key races including two billionaires fighting for the role of Illinois Governor, the national political map, and who is really in control.
Remarks began with an overview of both the Illinois and national political scene before addressing specific races in play on March 20. Showing a map, color coded by political party, Serafin explained, “In the United States House of Representatives, there are 194 Democrats, and half of them, roughly 94, are from the states along the edge of the coast. The inside of the country, all red, is where Democrats need the most help.  The Republicans need help in the urban centers, which are currently blue. Looking at the geography gives you a good sense of why certain things are happening, the way they are, in the country.”  Serafin addressed the current opportunity on whether the Democrats can win back the House. “At one-time, many people thought the Senate could be taken back since there is a 1 vote difference. In the U.S. Senate, there are 49 Democrats and 51 Republicans. But now, the attention has turned more towards the 24-vote deficit in the House of Representatives and now Democrats have a real shot at winning back control. 
It’s interesting to note that, there is a strong possibility that a U.S. Supreme Court Justice will be retiring in the next 3-8 months. If this occurs, this might be a way to give impetus for people to get out and vote.  In order for the Democrats to take the House, appealing to the constituency and modern Democrats is the best plan of attack,” Serafin explained. As a reminder, there are currently 33 Senate seats up for grabs, 24 are currently Democratic, 9 are Republican and 6 are considered toss-ups. Next, Serafin discussed President Trump’s current job approval, “According to various polls such as Marist, Rasmussen, Gallup and CBS, the President’s current job approval ranges between 39-45%.  He’s somewhere in the mid 40’s, give or take. His disapproval rating is between 53- 55%.” Comparing Trump’s approval rating with past presidents, we learned: 
  • John F.Kennedy: 79% approval, 11% disapproval
  • Ronald Reagan: 46% approval, 44% disapproval
  • Bill Clinton: 50% approval; 41% disapproval
  • George W. Bush: 79% approval, 14% disapproval
  • Barack Obama: 48% approval; 44% disapproval
“These numbers are interesting;” Serafin continued, “more people are willing to say today, that they disapprove of the performance of the President rather than approve of the process.”
(L:R) Greg Hummel, Partner, Bryan Cave LLP; Kelly O'Brien, Executive Director, CCAC; Thom Serafin, CEO, Serafin & Associates, Inc.; and Michael Csar, Partner, Drinker, Biddle & Reath LLP.
Thom Serafin addressing the CCAC audience at the March 13th Meeting
Turning to Congress, Thom reminded the audience that Illinois has 18 districts.  Currently, there are Democrats elected in the Cook County area, but almost every other district in Illinois is Republican. Illinois Members of Congress include: Bobby Rush (D-1), Robin Kelly (D-2), Dan Lipinski (D-3), Luis Gutierrez (D-4), Mike Quigley (D-5), Danny Davis (D-7), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8), Jan Schakowsky (D-9), Brad Schneider (D-10), Bill Foster (D-11), and Cheri Bustos (D-17). Republicans in these districts are: Peter Roskam (R-6), Mike Bost (R-12), Rodney Davis (R-13), Randy Hultgren (R-14), John Shimkus (R-15), Adam Kinzinger (R-16), and Darin LaHood (R-18).
Illinois 3rd Congressional District: Dan Lipinski vs. Marie Newman
Dan Lipinski is the son of Bill Lipinski who was appointed to the 23rd ward in Chicago in the 1980’s. Between both Bill and Dan Lipinski, they have a total of 18 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. “Dan Lipinski is a professor who has been equally good as his father, at bringing the bacon to the district and taking care of constituent services. He’s developed a strong base in the community. His challenger, Marie Newman, is more of a progressive, a ‘Bernie Sanders’ type candidate. Newman has chosen immigration and abortion as her platform issues and has been campaigning strong as a progressive Democrat against Lipinski,” according to Serafin.
Serafin also shared that Congressman Luis Gutierrez and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky stopped supporting Lipinski and that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is not assisting him with the election. 
Illinois 5th Congressional District: Mike Quigley vs. Ben Wolf
Without any hesitation, Serafin stated that Mike Quigley will win this district. He also mentioned that Ben Wolf has an unusual way of trying to draw attention to himself during this election such as smoking cannabis in campaign photos and according to Serafin, dropping his pants in the middle of the street.
Illinois Statewide Races
Discussing Illinois statewide elections, Serafin noted that over the last 15 years, Democrats have consistently lost ground. In 2006, the election between Blagojevich and Topinka, there were a few blue counties around the State. In 2010, in the election between Quinn and Brady, there were fewer, with four counties being blue. Then, in the 2014 election between Quinn and Rauner, there was only one blue county remaining. Illinois has a total of 102 counties.  Serafin expressed, “Although 101 counties voted for Rauner in the last statewide election, he has made it more competitive for the Democrats to turn many more counties blue in this election cycle, because his tenure has not been very effective.”
A few races of interest include:
Illinois Governor’s Race- Republican Primary: Bruce Rauner v. Jeanne Ives
According to Serafin, “Jeanne Ives needed roughly $500,000-$1,000,000, dollars more to make this election a 3-point race. It’s a close race, and Rauner has been spending a lot of money, which he hasn’t done in the past.  His messaging is all about tying her to Mike Madigan.” Serafin continued, “The ads are deceptive, and the truth is that Ives and Madigan wouldn’t even speak to each other if they were crossing the street at the same time. Nonetheless, Rauner has done a great job at capping her momentum and the race is closer than many expected it to be.
Serafin commented that this year a lot of Republican moderates may be interested in voting on the Democratic side of the ballot because there are more exciting races. He said, “This should be a Democratic year in Illinois. There’s no reason a Democrat should lose in Illinois especially in 2018.”
Illinois Governor’s Race- Democratic Primary: Chris Kennedy, Daniel Biss, J.B. Pritzker
There are three noteworthy candidates running in the Democratic primary for Governor.  Serafin stated, “Chris Kennedy has gained momentum in the last 3-6 weeks and was able to raise more money. Depending on which poll you’re following, Pritzker is in the mid 30% range and he spent roughly $62 million dollars. Chris Kennedy spent a fraction of that and his numbers are in the late teens, mid 20% based on various polls.” Continuing his update, Serafin mentioned, “Daniel Biss is somewhere in the mid-teens running as the middle-class candidate. He’s not polling as well in the African American neighborhoods, unlike Pritzker and Kennedy.
You must have a good share of the African American vote to be successful if you’re running a Democratic primary.” Serafin confessed that he can’t tell you who is going to win because 31% of voters are still undecided. He also pointed out the perception with voters is that because Pritzker has been on TV for so long, and is now well-known, that he’s the incumbent. He said, “…but he isn’t the incumbent, this is his first race.” Serafin mentioned that Rauner, airing commercials against Pritzker, placed Pritzker ‘in a box and made him one of the organization guys out of Springfield’. That’s where you see the weakness in the Democratic primary and Pritzker will have to overcome that if he wins in the general election. Thom believes that deep down, Rauner wants to run against Pritzker, because despite his wallet, he finds Pritzker to be inexperienced and this race to be competitive. “Most guys in the business would tell you that they don’t want to run against anyone with money…but not Rauner…not this race…” Serafin noted.
According to Serafin, Kennedy would be a formidable opponent in a general election. “If I was in the Rauner campaign, I too would prefer Pritzker over Kennedy. Depending on who the 30% of undecided voters choose to support, there might be a surprise on election night. “In this particular election, since it’s a primary, every vote is going to count. That sounds so sophomoric to say, but a lot of people don’t vote. The people who vote in moderate to low turnout areas think it will not make a difference, but your votes do make a difference in Illinois primaries.” 
Illinois Attorney General-Democrats: Pat Quinn, Kwame Raoul, Nancy Rotering, Jesse Ruiz, Scott Drury, Aaron Goldstein, Renato Mariotti, Sharon Fairley
Next, Serafin provided insights into each candidate and clarified, “You can win this election with roughly 20-25%, so you don’t need a lot of votes. Pat Quinn is up 5-10 % depending on what poll you’re following. Kwame Raoul has done a very nice job as the State Senator, succeeding former President Barack Obama in the Senate district. Nancy Rotering has done a great job by recently passing the hand gun legislation, taking it to the Supreme Court and winning the case. Over the years, Jesse Ruiz has received tough assignments from the Mayor’s office involving the Chicago Public School system and Chicago Park District.  He’s a public servant who gets the work done. Scott Drury, Aaron Goldstein, and Renato Mariotti have received flattering comments from potential voters. Sharon Fairley has received the bulk of Chicago media endorsements and she’s done a heck of a job as a public servant,” noted Serafin.
Illinois Attorney General-Republican: Gary Grasso v. Erika Harol
The favored candidate is Erika Harold.  Although she is not well known, Governor Rauner is fully supporting her and it is expected that she will be given the resources to compete with the Democrat, likely Pat Quinn or Kwame Raoul.
Illinois 82nd House District: Jim Durkin v. Mickey Straub
This is a unique race because Jim Durkin is the Illinois House Minority Leader and Mickey Straub is the Mayor of Burr Ridge, IL. “People are challenging Jim Durkin because he’s been too much of a moderate. If Jim Durkin continues to hold on to his lead, he should be fine in this race,” predicted Serafin.
Cook County Board President: Toni Preckwinkle v. Bob Fioretti
The race for Cook County Board President is turning out to be very competitive. “No one would have thought that current Board President Preckwinkle would have a challenger in Bob Fioretti.  Yet, surprisingly, they have been statistically tied in recent polls. There is still 35% of undecided voters and when things break, they typically break against the incumbent. 
Cook County Assessor: Joe Berrios vs. Fritz Kaegi
Here, Serafin is predicting that Fritz Kaegi will win. “One of Kaegi’s assets is everyone remembering his catchy name and how he refuses to receive contributions from lawyers during this election.” Continuing his remarks, Serafin stated, “Joe Berrios has been the keeper of the Cook County Estate for the Democratic Party and has always done what was asked of him. Fritz Kaegi is currently leading by 2 points and that is still within the margin of error.  
With the Illinois primary election happening on March 20th, Serafin’s remarks provided insight into the campaigns and candidates.  Members were both entertained by the tid bits shared and educated on the important primary races that will ultimately shape the November election. 
CCAC Executive Committee Holds Follow-Up Strategy Session
Doug Voigt, Partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP addressing the CCAC follow-up meeting
The CCAC Executive Committee reconvened this month to further discuss the project ideas proposed during the February meeting.  Members are preparing a presentation to be showcased during the May lunch meeting.  Special thank you to CCAC Executive Board Member, Doug Voigt, Partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, for hosting this meeting.
Next CCAC Meeting:                                       
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at Arcadis
Please join us at Arcadis on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, for the next CCAC meeting, hosted by LeeAnn Tomas-Foster, Associate Vice President, Arcadis.
Carly A. Foster, AICP, CFM
Urban and Community Resilience Practice Lead

Stefan Schaffer
Deputy Policy Director
City of Chicago
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.
200 S. Michigan Avenue,
Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60611
LeeAnn Tomas-Foster
Kelly O'Brien at 

"Capitalizing on Building Resilience”

Amidst aging infrastructure, limited resources, social unrest, and natural disasters, it is easy for one to be pessimistic about where our area and the United States as a whole (and even the world) are headed. Nevertheless, there are those out there that do not see these converging needs as mutually exclusive and unending. Resilience planning leverages solutions for one issue into solving others, and avoids the huge opportunity cost of failing to invest in resilience.
Come learn from Carly Foster and Stefan Schaffer about how risk is being leveraged into opportunity around the world, the United States, and in the Chicago area, as well as how the many benefits of such actions can be quantified and substantiated.
CCAC Young Leaders Tour Willis Tower at First Quarter Event
On Thursday, March 8th, CCAC Young Leaders heard a special presentation and received a guided tour by the lead designer and team driving the $600 million redevelopment of Willis Tower.
Speakers included Rachel Mitz, Director of Development, Equity Office and Benji Ward, Regional Design Leader, Principal, Gensler. They provided an in-depth overview of the office building, amenity and workplace enhancements now underway, as well as the visionary designs and concepts for the new base of the tower. These plans include unique retail, dining, fitness and entertainment. Both Rachel and Benji discussed the objectives of different spaces with separating and in some cases, mixing, the users of the building (employees and tourists), creating a more porous and transparent face for the building, activating streetscapes, and looking at what an outdoor city experience could bring to the Willis Tower.
Following the tour, CCAC sponsored a Happy Hour.  Please see CCAC's Facebook Page for additional photos.
The Future of Transportation in Chicago
"Innovation, Impact and Implementation"
June 2018
CCAC Young Leader Quarter 2 Event
Watch Your E-mail For Details
Arcadis Hosts Nighttime
Resiliency Event on April 10
Join Arcadis as they host a leadership series on resiliency,  Tuesday, April 10, 2018. The guest speaker will be Carly A. Foster, AICP, CFM, Urban and Community Resilience Planning Practice Lead for Urban and Coastal Resilience, Arcadis. The meeting, beginning with a cocktail hour at 5:30 pm followed by the presentation and discussion at 6:30 pm, will be held inside the Arcadis office located at 200 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL 60604. Cocktails, Hors d'oeuvres and good conversation will be provided. Please RSVP by April 9th to
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