Find The Daily Line Guest Commentaries Below

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    From inventing barbed wire to the cell phone, Illinois has always been home to innovation. Today, renewable energy is leading the state into a new era of advancement. The transition to renewable energy is in full swing, and Illinois is at the forefront of its incredible benefits. As we concluded the second annual American Clean Power Week, let us celebrate Illinois’ economic progress through clean energy leadership that has widened the lens of the industry’s impact.

    As Co-Founder and CEO at Solstice, I have the pleasure of seeing the benefits of clean energy development every day. Illinois has grown into a renewable energy powerhouse increasing job creation and local economic investment. According to the American Clean Power Association (ACP), the renewable energy industry supports...

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    Like most of America, Illinois is adversely impacted by a significant shortage of housing. The Chicagoland region alone requires tens of thousands of new apartments to satisfy our anticipated housing demand. The Chicagoland Apartment Association (CAA) recognizes an immediate need for the state legislature to continue developing strategies aimed at a balanced housing approach – policies that will encourage the construction of an additional supply of market-rate, affordable, and workforce housing.

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    The COVID-19 pandemic brought on unprecedented hardships for restaurant owners and employees, resulting in shuttered restaurants, job losses, and shattered dreams for countless owners and industry employees. I am lucky that Yolk, the restaurant I work for, did not suffer a similar fate.

    This is certainly not to say we didn’t face our own set of challenges or were able to get through these difficult years unscathed. Like so many others, when the pandemic began and we were forced to shut our doors to indoor dining, we had to make the devastating decision to lay off hundreds of employees across our locations and even permanently closed two of our locations altogether here in Chicago.

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    A bitter battle over Chicago's ward remap has been front and center in the news lately, portrayed by the media as a power struggle between the Black and Latino caucuses. But nobody has started talking about the 20 brand-new Chicago school board districts that legislators will soon need to create. 

    Drawing a whole new map of school board districts is a complicated process that ought to be considered carefully. For starters, we need to talk about race and fair representation without allowing the conversation to be mischaracterized as a battle of Black vs. Brown. The racial demographics of Chicago are very different from those of the CPS student body: Chicago is almost one-third white, while CPS is 90% children of color.

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    Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois followed a “Restore Illinois” model ranging from “Phase 1: Rapid Spread” to “Phase 5: Illinois Restored.” Illinois has already achieved Phase 5, and we are looking forward to our future beyond this pandemic. However, as we turn from the past two years our view of the future is obstructed by a mirror. In its reflection are the side effects of the past two years of COVID-19 mitigations and our eyes adjust to reveal the realities staring back at us. They are difficult to stomach.

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    The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) has been handling a steady stream of calls from frustrated gas customers wondering why they’re on the hook to pay hundreds of dollars more to heat their homes—and Chicago is the epicenter of this heating-affordability crisis.

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    Adriann Murawski

    As Cook County debates how to spend federal dollars, commissioners must consider the impact of real estate on the overall economy. Illinois needs an estimated 270,000 more homes to meet demand. Statewide, we have less than two months of housing inventory available, but Illinois trails all five other states in our Midwest region for new housing permits this year.

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    Chicago and our country are facing uncertain times. Take, for instance, the labor market and gun violence: long Covid and childcare problems have made some workers drop out, while legal firearm purchases have percolated out onto the streets and factored into the nationwide uptick in gun violence. With these and other issues beyond easy control, however, any source of increased stability is a welcome measure. That’s exactly why Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago’s City Council should initiate another phased-in minimum wage increase ending by 2025 or so at somewhere around $18 or $19 an hour.

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    On Sunday, another severe storm in a series of climate-fueled weather swept through the Chicago area, causing 96,000 households to lose power and widespread damage including downed trees.

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    The recent spate of climate-focused legislation in Springfield and Washington provides hope.

    Before 2050 Illinois could operate with 100 percent clean energy and emit net zero carbon emissions, an outcome of the clean energy bill recently signed by Gov. JB Pritzker. Millions in federal subsidies will flow into Chicago to upgrade and expand public transportation, if the bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes an additional $39 billion for public transit finds its way to President Joe Biden’s desk.