Democratic Sen.-elect Tammy Duckworth announced Monday that beginning next year she will serve on four committees, one of them the Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee.
The commerce committee spot means she’ll be among senators who will give a thumbs up or down to Republican Todd Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs who has been tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to be the deputy secretary in his Commerce Department.
Duckworth and Ricketts come from different parties but share a home state. A vote against him would be a vote against one of the owners of the world championship Cubs for the No. 2 job at Commerce.
The three other panels she landed: Environment & Public Works; Energy & Natural Resources; and Small Business.
A two-term House member, Duckworth was a member of the House Armed Services Committee. But she won’t be joining the Senate’s prestigious equivalent.
Nor will she serve on the Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committee, even though earlier she worked in the Obama administration as an assistant secretary in the Veterans Affairs Department from 2009 to 2011. She first won election to the House in 2012 after losing a first bid in 2006.
Duckworth will be in the minority in the Republican-controlled Senate as she was in the House.
Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University and an expert on the U.S. Senate, said Monday he was surprised she didn’t land on the Veterans’ Affairs panel.
He said her committee assignments were “fairly typical” for a first-termer because she didn’t score one of the top committees: Finance, Foreign Relations and Armed Services.
But the commerce committee spot, he hastened to add, “isn’t bad for campaign fundraising.”
Talking about the Energy & Natural Resources spot, Duckworth said in a statement: “I risked my life and limb — as did countless other brave Americans — serving in Iraq and I saw firsthand the painful price this nation pays because of our reliance on foreign oil.”
Generating more energy in the U.S. “means importing less oil from unstable foreign adversaries like Russia,” Duckworth said. She’ll be sworn in Jan. 3. (Katherine Skiba)
What’s on tap
*Mayor Rahm Emanuel "will announce an Elston, Damen, Fullerton Reconstruction Project milestone" at 7:30 a.m.
*Memorial for noted atheist Rob Sherman who died in plane crash to be held at airport.
From the notebook
*The dominoes keep falling: The game of musical chairs continues at City Hall, as Mayor Rahm Emanuel shifts a couple of staffers to positions following an earlier move to replace former City Clerk Susana Mendoza.
Maria Guerra Lapacek heads back to the Office of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs, where she will now direct the mayor’s operation there to line up City Council votes for his agenda by strong-arming or cajoling recalcitrant aldermen.
Guerra Lapacek replaces Anna Valencia, whom the mayor picked to succeed Mendoza as clerk when Mendoza won the special election to become state comptroller last month. Guerra Lapacek worked as a deputy in Government Affairs until Emanuel named her commissioner of the office of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection in early 2014.
And Samantha Fields will leave her position as deputy director of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs to take over for Guerra Lapacek at Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.
That puts Fields, who built aldermanic support for Emanuel’s controversial rules governing home-sharing services like Airbnb and ride-sharing websites like Uber, on the front lines of implementing those laws in the face of continued pushback from council members, hotel operators, cabbies and others who find them too stringent or not tough enough.
Fields previously worked as deputy chief of staff for Gov. Pat Quinn, where she had oversight of the operations and policies for human service agencies, including the Departments of Aging, Children and Family Services, and Juvenile Justice, according to Emanuel’s office. (John Byrne)
*Artl to Tollway: Kevin Artl, who formerly managed Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk’s unsuccessful re-election campaign, has joined the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority as its new chief of staff.
Artl also previously worked for former House Republican leader Tom Cross of Oswego and led his failed 2014 bid for state treasurer against Democrat Michael Frerichs. (Rick Pearson)
Follow the money
*Ald. Ed Burke raised $10,500 over tworeports, with the biggest individual donation coming from U-Haul.
*Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle reported $7,500 from the Illinois Hospital Association’s political committee.
*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.
*Gov-elect: North Carolina could repeal LGBT law on Tuesday.
*After years on the outside, foes of legal immigration find a louder voice with Trump’s election.