Stories by Alexandra Silets

Spotlight Politics: Billionaires Spend Tens of Millions on Governor’s Race

(WTTW News)

Our politics team weighs in on Darren Bailey's lead in the GOP primary race for the governor and more.

Candidate Forum: Cook County Assessor Candidates Kaegi, Steele Face Off

A composite image of the candidates for Cook County assessor, incumbent Fritz Kaegi and challenger Kari Steele. (WTTW News graphic)

The candidates for Cook County assessor face off in a “Chicago Tonight” candidate forum.

The Week in Review: Donald Trump at Center of January 6 Committee Hearing

The January 6 Committee meets on June 9, 2022. (PBS NewsHour)

Donald Trump was at the center of primetime hearings on the Jan. 6 insurrection. Mayor Lightfoot makes it official — she wants another term. And a new poll shows a seismic shift in the GOP race for governor. 

All 48 Craft Cannabis Licenses Awarded to Social Equity Applicants

A cannabis cultivation facility. (WTTW News)

The state has awarded 48 cultivation licenses to craft cannabis growers, and 100% of the licenses are going to social equity winners — folks who were most impacted by the nation’s so-called war on drugs.  

The Week in Review: GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Debate Violence, Guns

(ABC via WTTW)

Republican gubernatorial candidates go on the attack. Two more candidates for Chicago mayor. And the U.S. Senate debates gun policy amid Uvalde and another violent memorial day weekend in Chicago.

VA Hospitals Work to Address Mental Health Needs of Veterans

(WTTW News)

Since 2010, more than 65,000 veterans have died by suicide – that is more than the total number of deaths from combat during the Vietnam War and the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

The Week in Review: Mayor Lori Lighfoot’s Curfew Plan Faces Full City Council

A sign at Millennium Park details the new policy for teens on May 20, 2022. (WTTW News)

The Chicago Police Department is beefing up police presence after a new deadly downtown shooting. Meanwhile, the mayor’s new daily curfew of 10 p.m. clears a committee and will be voted on by the full City Council next week.

The Week in Review: Smollett Released, Muñoz Sentenced, Thompson’s Request

Former Ald. Ricardo Muñoz, right, listens as his attorney Richard Kling addresses the news media on Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (Heather Cherone / WTTW News)

Another former alderman was sent to jail. State’s Attorney Kim Foxx won’t charge the police officers who fatally shot Adam Toledo and Anthony Alvarez. The heated remap fight is headed to the voters. And Loyola goes down in round one of the NCAA tourney.

The Week in Review: Madigan Arraigned, Cullerton Pleads, Smollett Sentenced

Jussie Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in jail plus probation after being convicted of lying to police about staging a hate crime against himself. (WTTW News)

Jussie Smollet sent to prison. Mike Madigan pleads not guilty to federal corruption charges. Candidates file for June’s primary election. And masks are set to become optional for Chicago Public Schools.

How Subtle Language Can Create a Culture of Segregation

Tonika Johnson, pictured in 2020, created the Folded Map project to correct misconceptions about certain neighborhoods in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Since we first met Tonika Lewis Johnson in 2020, she has expanded the Folded Map project — adding workshops, a play and a movie.

The Week in Review: Pritzker Taking School Mask Case to State Supreme Court

(WTTW News)

Appeals court rules against Pritzker’s school mask mandate. A mask melee in the general assembly. Lightfoot’s gang ordinance moves forward. And another Chicago alderman found guilty in federal court.

Spotlight Politics: Dems Turn on Pritzker’s Mask Mandate

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Republicans and Democrats turn against Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s mask mandate, and the conviction of Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson  Our politics team weighs in on that story and more.

The Week in Review: State’s Mask Mandate Lifting

(WTTW News)

Gov. Pritzker announces an eventual end to the indoor mask mandate. Chao and confusion abound at schools after the latest court ruling on masks in schools. The defense rests in an alderman’s criminal trial. And is there a ray of hope for the Bears and Soldier Field?

The Week in Review: Loop Protestors Arrested, Want Federal Charges for Ex-Cop

(WTTW News)

Community reaction to Jason Van Dyke’s release from prison. Laquan McDonald’s neighborhood of North Lawndale is our In Your Neighborhood stop. Plus, the city’s top cop and Sen. Tammy Duckworth.

Spotlight Politics: Property Tax Rebate, Suspends Food Sales Tax & IL Gas Tax

(WTTW News)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker presents an election-year budget filled with tax relief and more spending on programs.  And Rod Blagojevich weighs in on a congressional race. . Our politics team weighs in on that story and more.

Some Companies Offering Four-Day Workweek to Retain, Recruit Talent

(WTTW News)

As the so-called Great Resignation continues, companies have had to get creative with recruiting and retaining talented employees. The newest benefit some companies are experimenting with is a four-day workweek.

The Week in Review: Criminal Justice Leaders on Same Page This Week

(WTTW News)

City leaders present a united front on crime. Competition from all corners this election year. And tackling the Bears’ new hires.

Muhammad Ali’s Fight for Civil Rights Celebrated, Remembered in Illinois

(PBS / Florentine Films)

Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. Day coincided with the first celebration of Muhammad Ali Day in Illinois on what would have been the champion boxer and civil rights activist's 80th birthday.

Workers at Art Institute Museum, School Vote to Unionize

South lion at the Art Institute of Chicago. (Heather Paul / Flickr)

Employees at the School of the Art Institute voted to unionize Wednesday, one day after workers at the Art Institute also voted to form a union. It’s the first major museum union in Chicago and will represent more than 200 Art Institute employees including installers, curators, custodians, librarians and retail workers.

The Week in Review: CPS Teachers Buck In-Person Learning with Omicron Surge

(WTTW News)

Chicago schools shut down in a dispute between teachers and administrators. Arne Duncan teases a potential mayoral run. Remembering Jan. 6. And Lightfoot vows a reset on crime in 2022.

Spotlight Politics: Omicron Variant Pits CTU Against Mayor, Schools CEO

(WTTW News)

What’s the political fallout of the standoff between the teachers union and the city? The race for the 1st Congressional District heats up after Bobby Rush announces he's stepping down. And U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger decides his future on the eve of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot anniversary.

Spotlight Politics: Chicago Issues Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate Amid Surge

A bartender mixes a drink at the Chicago restaurant 14 Parish. (WTTW News)

A look at the political and economic ramifications of the COVID-19 surge. Our politics team and guest reporters weigh in on that and more.

The Week in Review: Infections Rising, City Worker Vaccine Mandate Upheld

(WTTW News)

Omicron variant rips through Chicago and the U.S. The city gives the OK to stadium sports betting. Aurora Mayor may be a gubernatorial candidate. And downstate struggles with the aftermath of deadly storms.

The Week in Review: Jury Convicts Smollett on 5 of 6 Counts of Lying to Police

Jussie Smollett is found guilty on five out of six counts of lying to police, filing a false police report and disorderly conduct in his hate-crime hoax case. (WTTW News via CNN)

Cook County jury convicts Jussie Smollett for faking a hate crime. Business leaders blast the mayor for downtown crime. High-stakes debate over sports wagering. And omicron is here in Chicago.

Spotlight Politics: Sports Wagering Tax, Casinos Coming to Town

Mayor Lori Lightfoot gambles on a 2% Chicago sports betting tax, but some aldermen aren’t playing.  (WTTW News)

Sports betting, casinos, and COVID-19 bills in Springfield. Our politics team weighs in on that and more.

City Investing $1 Billion in Affordable Housing Projects

(WTTW News)

“We envision a city where every resident, no matter age, income, identity, ability, has the opportunities and the resources to lead comfortable lives in the communities they call home,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday.