WBEZ | Toi Hutchinson http://www.wbez.org/tags/toi-hutchinson Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Hutchinson exits race for Jackson's US House seat http://www.wbez.org/news/hutchinson-exits-race-jacksons-us-house-seat-105583 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS6731_AP111213148450.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A well-known Illinois state senator dropped her bid Sunday for the U.S. House seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr., narrowing the field and consolidating key support behind another Democrat in a race where gun control has emerged as a central issue.</p><p>State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, targeted in recent days by critical anti-gun campaign ads funded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg&#39;s political action committee, said she was leaving the race and swinging her support to former state Rep. Robin Kelly. The major shake-up came with just nine days to go before the Feb. 26 primary.</p><p>Hutchinson&#39;s move reflected the sharp divisions over the gun control issue, but also appeared to be in line with efforts to consolidate support for one of the many black candidates in the black-majority district. Community leaders had expressed concerns that the black vote could be split, thus boosting the chances of former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, a white candidate whom Jackson defeated in last year&#39;s primary battle.</p><p>&quot;I am simply unwilling to risk playing a role going forward that could result in dividing our community at time a when we need unity more than ever,&quot; Hutchinson said Sunday in a written statement. &quot;In the wake of horrendous gun related crimes all across our country, I agree with Robin that we need to stand together to fight gun violence.&quot;</p><p>Bloomberg&#39;s super PAC, Independence USA, has run ads in the district that target Hutchinson for her past opposition to tougher gun restrictions &mdash; one of the campaign&#39;s most pressing issues along with economic hardships such as joblessness and foreclosures.</p><p>In a district encompassing parts of Chicago&#39;s South Side that have been deeply affected by gun violence, Hutchinson campaigned on more moderate views, saying the December school shooting in Newtown, Conn., brought about a change of heart.</p><p>Kelly, too, was among those criticizing Hutchinson&#39;s previous position and questioning whether her newfound stance was genuine. Now, Kelly says she&#39;s pleased to have her former rival&#39;s backing.</p><p>&quot;In Congress, I will work with Sen. Hutchinson ... and other leaders throughout our district to get guns off our streets and bring jobs to our neighborhoods,&quot; Kelly said in a statement.</p><p>With Hutchinson&#39;s departure, the race is down to three top Democratic contenders: Kelly, Chicago Alderman Anthony Beale and Halvorson. The primary will likely decide the race because the district is so overwhelmingly Democratic.</p><p>Illinois&#39; 2nd district also has a majority of black voters, even after boundaries were redrawn to include rural areas where there are greater numbers of white voters and where Halvorson is from.</p><p>Halvorson said Sunday that she believes she can easily woo those who had supported Hutchinson. She said in an interview that she was surprised by the sudden withdrawal and questioned what was behind the decision.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s no way that she would get out of the race unless she was told that she had no choice,&quot; Halvorson told The Associated Press. &quot;And now what kind of deal was made? What is she going to get out of it? And I think everybody should come clean. ... This district is tired of wheeling and dealing.&quot;</p><p>Hutchinson&#39;s campaign did not respond to requests for comment.</p><p>Kelly told the AP that as far as she was aware there were no backroom negotiations or political deals made and that Hutchinson&#39;s decision was hers alone. She also does not think the ads by Bloomberg&#39;s PAC were any kind of tipping point in that decision.</p><p>Kelly defended the New York mayor&#39;s right to weigh in on an election in Illinois with ads endorsing her on the gun control issue and attacking her opponents.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s still up the people who go into the booth and vote,&quot; Kelly said in a phone interview. &quot;But I think those ads counterbalance the millions of dollars that the NRA (National Rifle Association) has spent to influence what they want to influence.&quot;</p><p>Halvorson also has been targeted by the Bloomberg PAC ads because of her opposition to an assault weapons ban. She bristled at the notion of Bloomberg wading into the election.</p><p>&quot;He&#39;s got billions of dollars, he has always been very controlling and he wants to control a congressional seat,&quot; she said.</p><p>Halvorson supports background checks for gun purchases and registration of all firearms but opposes an assault weapons ban, saying law-abiding gun owners have Second Amendment rights and that a ban in Cook County hasn&#39;t prevented gun violence.</p><p>The special election was triggered by Jackson&#39;s resignation in November. Jackson faces a federal conspiracy charge for allegedly spending $750,000 in campaign money on personal expenses. He also was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder.</p></p> Mon, 18 Feb 2013 11:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/hutchinson-exits-race-jacksons-us-house-seat-105583 Toi Hutchinson running for Congress http://www.wbez.org/news/toi-hutchinson-running-congress-104110 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/toi.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois State senator Toi Hutchinson is jumping into the 2nd district congressional race.</p><p>Hutchinson <a href="https://twitter.com/ToiHutchinson/status/274218127309549568" target="_blank">announced today</a> she&rsquo;s joining a growing list of Democrats hoping to fill former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.&rsquo;s seat.</p><p>Hutchinson has represented the South Suburbs in the senate since 2009.</p><p>Before that, she served as Chief of Staff for then Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson.</p><p>Halvorson is also <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/halvorson-run-replace-jackson-104012">running</a> for Jackson&rsquo;s seat.</p><p>A special primary election is set for late February.</p><p>After Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.&#39;s official <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/rep-jesse-jackson-jr-resigns-congress-103969">resignation</a>, lots of Chicago politicians are throwing their hats in the ring for the 2nd Congressional District.</p><p>Follow our <a href="http://pinterest.com/wbez/who-is-and-isn-t-running-for-congress/" target="_blank">Pinterest board</a> to keep tabs on the rumors, official announcements and (soon enough) withdrawals from this special election.</p><p>And stay tuned to WBEZ&#39;s <a href="http://bit.ly/2ndspecialelection" target="_blank">complete coverage</a> of the race.</p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 13:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/toi-hutchinson-running-congress-104110 Illiana expressway project has residents on edge http://www.wbez.org/news/illiana-expressway-project-has-residents-edge-98922 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/possible expressway.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>When Todd Benjamin and his wife Colleen found out about the possible routes for the Illiana expressway, they raced to their computer to see if the state would soon be bulldozing through their property.<br><br>"From what I understand they're gonna put that highway right here on the north side of this property between here and that grove of trees," Benjamin said, standing outside his livestock office in Peotone.<br><br>According to a <a href="http://www.illianacorridor.org/about/prelim_alternative.aspx">map of three potential roadways</a>, Benjamin could soon be looking out his office window onto a massive expressway. Members of the Illinois House are poised to take up a bill that would speed up construction of a proposed highway. The Illiana expressway project dates back as far as the early 1900s, in Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago, and would connect Indiana and Illinois.&nbsp;<br><br>Benjamin said he understands the need for the road, but he's upset about proposals that would take away land on his and his neighbors property.<br><br>"When you think about young people with houses, with families and they're buying a home," he said. "And now they're talking about taking it away?"<br><br>Benjamin's pretty tapped into what people are talking about - his sons are the sixth generation to live on his family's farm. He says there are a lot of rumors going around about "quick-take" and what that might mean for property owners.<br><br>"You know, land is a big investment. And to have some judge just come in and say that's all it's worth, that's all you're gonna get, and oh yeah, by the way, we're not gonna pay you for a while. You've gotta go now," he said.<br><br>A <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=3318&amp;GAID=11&amp;DocTypeID=SB&amp;LegID=64537&amp;SessionID=84&amp;GA=97&amp;SpecSess=0">measure </a>is pending in the Illinois House that would give the Department of Transportation quick-take powers for the expressway. It's basically a fast-track version of eminent domain. The state government chooses the land it wants and then tells a judge what it'll pay. Property owners can take that money and run, or fight in court over the value, but that's after their land's been taken.<br><br>According to Dan Tarlock, professor at the IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, quick-take is a common practice for states around the country, especially with public-private infrastructure projects like the Illiana Expressway.<br><br>"In order to induce private financing, quick-take is a big incentive to invest, otherwise a lot of private money would be tied up," Tarlock said.<br><br>Quick-take, Tarlock says, is also useful for speeding up the process when a lot of parties are involved. In the case of the Illiana expressway, people like farmers and homeowners.<br><br>"We've been worried about hold outs, that is, you've got a project, probably most property owners will voluntarily sell, but if one person decides to hold out then the whole project can be delayed," he said.<br><br>Delay is one of the reasons State Senator Toi Hutchinson supports quick-take.<br><br>"Eminent domain takes about three years but quick take takes about two, so if you add another 24 months for land acquisition then we could be breaking ground in 2016," Hutchinson said.<br><br>Hutchinson is the Senate sponsor of the quick-take legislation. The bill has already passed through the Senate and is waiting for a final vote by the full House. Hutchinson said the highway project would bring needed resources to the region; it could create around 14,000 long term jobs, and could bring $6 billion in investment over the next 30 years.<br><br>"We're moving with another state, and we have a lot of moving parts to be able to coordinate, and there are also people who've been unemployed for so very long that will tell you they can't wait much longer for a job," Hutchinson said.<br><br>But Hutchinson says she does feel for landowners who could lose their land. Especially in a region where most property is passed down through generations.<br><br>"It's always difficult when the individual comes up against the needs of a region," she said.<br><br>But Todd Benjamin says it doesn't matter how long someone's owned land. He says what matters is that it's theirs, not the government's. &nbsp;<br>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 08 May 2012 16:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illiana-expressway-project-has-residents-edge-98922