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State Week: Congressional Campaigns, Sterigenics, Abortion Funding, Chicago Casino

State Week 23 logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois

Republicans are lining up to try to reclaim the seats won by freshmen U.S. Reps. Sean Casten and Lauren Underwood, there are fights over a suburban business emitting a cancer-causing chemical, the feds are inching up on the speaker, and more.

The Casten race features a Republican primary that so far included former state Rep. Jeanne Ives and former Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti — a rematch of sorts of last year's gubernatorial primary, when Ives came within three points of defeating incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner for the Republican nomination. And will U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin get another pass?

Meanwhile, politicians are on the defensive over an agreement to allow Sterigenics to reopen in the western suburbs despite concerns about cancer-causing emissions from the medical device sterilization plant.

The Chicago Tribune reported federal investigators raided the Quincy home of Mike McClain, a longtime friend and confidant of House Speaker Michael Madigan. It prompted another round of speculation about why the feds are circling the longest-serving member of the Illinois General Assembly.

Illinois health clinics that provide or refer women for abortions reacted to President Trump's decision to suspend federal funding to such groups, and Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Illinois would step in.

And Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled five potential sites for a Chicago casino. They're all in parts of the city in need of economic development — far from rumored sites downtown, on Navy Pier and near McCormick Place.

Sean Crawford hosts with regular panelists Charlie Wheeler and Brian Mackey, and guest Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune and WGN radio’s The Sunday Spin.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
The former director of the Public Affairs Reporting (PAR) graduate program is Professor Charles N. Wheeler III, a veteran newsman who came to the University of Illinois at Springfield following a 24-year career at the Chicago Sun-Times.
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