Powerful Chicago Democrat alderman backs Durkin’s GOP statehouse bid
House GOP Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) is one of two GOP candidates to receive financial support from powerful Chicago Alderman Ed Burke.
Durkin, who is facing a primary challenge from Burr Ridge Mayor Mickey Straub, received $1,000 from the Burnham Committee in August.
Durkin has been under fire from Republicans for accepting donations from Democrats and traditionally Democrat-leaning interest groups.
Burke, whose 14th Ward Organization is among the Chicago Machine’s strongest, is also backing 28 year-old Republican Nic Zito to fill the open seat for the 49th House District.
Zito faces Tonia Khouri, an Aurora small business owner, in the GOP primary next March.
One of Burke’s political funds, the Burnham Committee, gave Zito $1,000 in October.
Other Burnham Committee beneficiaries this political cycle: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Matteson), Democrat Cook County Board of Review Member Michael Cabonargi, Democrat Cook County Commissioner and top aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) Ed Moody and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Burke was a prominent supporter of Preckwinkle’s controversial Cook County sugar tax.
Ban on walking while talking?
Burke, one of the City Council’s most left-leaning members, is often criticized for proposing “nanny state” initiatives.
He recently suggested the city should raise revenue by fining pedestrians who are walking while using their cell phones up to $500.
Burke said it would “increase safety by eliminating distractions for pedestrians.”
He’s also proposed a blanket city ban on energy drinks, a ban on major league baseball players chewing tobacco when in town for games against the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, a city ban on cooking oil that includes trans fats, and a dress code for Chicago taxi cab drivers.
Burke proposed forbidding the drivers from wearing tank tops, shorts or sandals while on the job.
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