Trump visits Kenosha today to tout manufacturing message

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Morning Spin for Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Topspin Amid an increase in international tensions and concerns about policy among supporters at home, President Donald Trump on Tuesday is making his first visit to Wisconsin since taking office. Trump is scheduled to stop in Kenosha at the headquarters of Snap-on Inc., a tool, automotive and industrial diagnostics equipment manufacturer and franchiser. Though manufacturing no longer takes place at its Kenosha campus, Trump’s visit is expected to dovetail with his “Buy American, Hire American” message of attempting to help restore domestic manufacturing to improve the nation’s economy and spur job growth. Growth in manufacturing has been key to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” mantra — vowing to “bring back” the jobs of voters who have felt the sting of employment losses and regional economic declines as manufacturing jobs moved out of the country because of globalization or were overtaken by automation. In a statement, Snap-on Inc. said Trump’s visit was “an encouraging development in highlighting the essential nature of American manufacturing to our nation’s future.” “It’s always an honor when our contributions to society are recognized,” the company said. Last month, Trump trumpeted the findings of a National Association of Manufacturers survey of industry executives that found 93 percent were optimistic about the economy’s future. Trump said that percentage had been only 56 percent “just a few months ago.” "It’s a new surge in optimism, which is sweeping all across our land," Trump said at the time. “These survey results are a further vote of confidence in our plan to bring back jobs, lower taxes, and provide a level playing field for our workers.” Trump’s visit also takes him to the congressional district of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville, which shares a border with northern Illinois. Trump and Ryan are trying to jump-start an effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, after an initial plan was scuttled by a group of House Republicans in the conservative Freedom Caucus. Trump’s visit also takes place in the hometown of his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. Priebus had been among those sparring with Trump’s chief political adviser, Steve Bannon, who is now heading into a lesser role at the White House having fallen out of favor. When controversies emerge, Trump frequently heads out of the White House for campaign-style rallies. The president has found himself facing questions about reversals involving U.S. military actions in Syria and Afghanistan, growing tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile program and a declaration that China does not manipulate its currency. Trump, now needing China to help defuse the U.S. situation with North Korea, declared China a currency manipulator during the campaign. A Pew Research Center poll released the day before Trump’s visit found the president’s national approval rating unchanged from two months ago at 39 percent. The percentage of Americans who disapprove was about the same: 54 percent compared with 56 percent in February. Trump won Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes by about 27,000 votes over Democrat Hillary Clinton to become the first Republican elected by the state since Ronald Reagan won it in 1984. In Kenosha County, the site of Trump’s visit, the Republican won by fewer than 300 votes. Unemployment in the county is at 5.1 percent, up from 4.2 percent in December, when Trump and his then-running mate Mike Pence made a post-election visit to Wisconsin as part of a victory tour. Trump had been scheduled to visit Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee in early February, but the event was canceled. (Rick Pearson)    What’s on tap *Mayor Rahm Emanuel will address gun dealer licensing laws at UCAN and preside over a meeting of the Public Building Commission.  *Gov. Bruce Rauner will tour II-VI EpiWorks in Champaign. *The City Council Finance Committee could consider a plan to send more TIF district surplus money to Chicago Public Schools.  *Attendees to the Kennedy Forum’s morning event on mental health funding at Ocean Cut include Sen. Dick Durbin, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. Cardinal Blase Cupich will appear at a luncheon at Glasser Auditorium at Mount Sinai Hospital.   From the notebook *Alderman tries again on CPS TIF money plan: One alderman who doubts that Chicago Public Schools will get a last-minute cash infusion from state government is resurrecting a plan to siphon money from special taxing districts throughout the city. Ald. George Cardenas, 12th, first floated the idea to draw down tax increment financing district reserves last year before Mayor Emanuel in October agreed to declare $175 million of those TIF funds as surplus. CPS got about half that money, which helped avert a strike by the Chicago Teachers Union and staved off a City Council push to vote on Cardenas’ plan. Since then, Gov. Rauner vetoed a measure that would have provided an extra $215 million to CPS this year for pension payments — a plan that’s one of many casualties of an historic budget stalemate. CPS CEO Forrest Claypool — who in a lawsuit has accused the state of shortchanging minority students in Chicago — has said that without the money CPS could be forced to close its doors nearly three weeks early and cut summer programs. Whether CPS will actually cut short the school year — an idea Emanuel has called “not the right option, not the right choice” — remains to be seen.  Emanuel, who also likes to boast of expanding the school day and year and frequently talks about educational gains at CPS, continues to maintain Springfield has the answer. But Cardenas told the Tribune on Monday he’s doubtful Springfield will come through, given the political stalemate. “I’m not optimistic at all,” Cardenas said. “I’m just being realistic.” So he’s reintroduced his proposal, which is on the agenda for Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting, to at least get people talking about ways to help CPS. Discussion could be as far as it goes, however, given that a lot of proposals get debated at the Finance Committee led by Chairman Ed Burke, 14th, without getting advanced to the full council. Under Cardenas’ plan, the city would have to declare as surplus all money in TIF district not already committed to specific projects, with half of it automatically going to CPS. It also would allow the city to give its 22 percent share of the TIF surplus to CPS. TIF funds, which set aside property tax collections for economic development in struggling or stagnant areas, have long been a target of the CTU. (Hal Dardick, Juan Perez Jr.) *State gets in on United controversy: In response to recent controversy surrounding United Airlines, a state lawmaker has introduced legislation that aims to protect ticketed airline passengers from being forcibly removed from flights. The proposal from Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, marks another chapter in the fallout from the incident at O’Hare International Airport last week, when David Dao was dragged off a United flight by aviation security officials when he refused to leave his seat. Breen’s proposal would keep state and local officials from working with airlines to remove passengers unless there’s a safety risk or public emergency. He said the state should prevent public employees from being used to hurt people. “Our public servants were used to abuse a visitor to our city, and that should never happen,” Breen said. “We have to set that line down ourselves.” The plan also would keep the state from doing business with airlines that bump ticketed passengers to provide seats for their employees. It would award attorney’s fees to people who successfully sue an airline for violating the law. Breen said it’s important for the state to take a stand against airlines that implement these policies, particularly since the United incident happened “in our backyard.” “This incident caused a real black eye for our state and for our largest city and the crown jewel of our transportation infrastructure,” Breen said. (Haley BeMiller) *Biss gets OFA stalwart: Democratic state Sen. Daniel Biss has hired a campaign manager for his governor bid. It’s Abby Witt, a stalwart of former President Barack Obama’s campaign operations. Witt is well-known nationally as an astute political operative. She played several roles in Obama presidential campaigns from regional field director in 2008 to director of political operations in the 2012 re-election bid. She was responsible for strategic planning and day-to-day operations of Organizing For Action, the offshoot of Obama for America, working for progressive causes through grassroots action. "If we want real change and to start solving problems in Illinois, we need to build a movement to take our state back from money and the machine," said Biss. "Building a bold and progressive grassroots campaign requires an organizer leading us every day, and we got one of the best in Abby Witt." Witt said Biss’s history as show he "understands that real change doesn’t come with the ability to cut a check, but with the ability to organize a community." "I’m honored to join a movement to take our state back from money and the machine, and set us on a new course," she said in a statement. According to her LinkedIn page, until February Witt worked as Chicago Public Schools’ director of strategic initiatives. (Rick Pearson) *Rauner’s travels: Gov. Rauner on Monday was in Moline to discuss “changes to get Illinois back on track” and in Peoria to discuss “changes to fix Illinois’ broken system.” Those are the types of descriptions his government press shop typically puts out when he’s appearing somewhere to tout what he used to call his “turnaround agenda” and now refers to as “structural reforms.” Taxpayers foot the bill for whatever travel costs such appearances generate. Last week, however, similar events were deemed to be campaign stops, and the governor’s political fund covered the cost. We asked Rauner’s government press operation why Monday’s stops were taxpayer-funded when they mirror what the campaign did last week using private money. What’s the difference, we asked. The press shop offered an answer that shed little light on the distinction. “Today’s visits allow the governor to meet with and talk to constituents in his official capacity as a statewide office holder,” Rauner spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis responded in an email. *Better late than never? It only took about a decade, but the Illinois House Democrats now have a joint social media effort. Comprising the effort are Facebook and Twitter feeds under the branding “Lifting Up Illinois.” In a news release touting the effort, Steve Brown, longtime spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, sounded the class-warfare theme that the party has employed against wealthy Republican Gov. Rauner pretty much since he emerged as a force on the Illinois political scene in 2014. “While Gov. Rauner and House Republicans continue to stand by their corporate agenda, House Democrats are fighting for economic reforms to grow the economy and build a stronger middle class,” Brown said in the release. “To this end, House Democrats are working to put more money in the pockets of working families by expanding middle-class tax credits and raising the minimum wage. Efforts by House Democrats are also being made to level the playing field for Illinois’ small and medium-sized employers while closing loopholes that allow big corporations to avoid paying any taxes at all." The three other caucuses in the House and Senate have had such efforts for years, and the House Democratic effort follows grumbling by rank-and-file members that they needed to do the same in the modern era.   What we’re writing  *First-term U.S. congressman is last in state in seniority but first in fundraising. *Emanuel won’t ‘prejudge’ future of aviation police after man dragged off United flight. *Emanuel wants tougher gun rules on party buses. *Gun ranges in Chicago could be allowed in more areas under proposal. *As state switches to SAT exam, some districts also paying to offer ACT. *Naperville mayor: City ‘could’ve done better’ reporting officer-involved fatal crash.   What we’re reading *Cubs World Series rally damage displaces Grant Park softball teams. *Secretary of State Jesse White already tweaking new license plate design. *Ex-Pope Benedict XVI celebrates 90th birthday — with a mug of beer.   Follow the money *Illinois campaign finance reports for the first quarter were due at midnight. They’ve trickled in here. *Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.    Beyond Chicago *V.P. Pence warns North Korea. *Chris Christie on what might have been. *Gorsuch hears arguments for first time on Supreme Court.  *Canada glacier melt rerouted in rare case of "river piracy."
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