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Obama Foundation

Former President Barack Obama says he envisions his future presidential center as an institution where the next generation of young leaders will be trained.

Obama spoke Wednesday at a community forum in Chicago where renderings of the center and library were unveiled.

Obama estimates the center will be finished in four years, but says programming will start this year. He announced that he and former first Lady Michelle Obama personally will donate $2 million to summer job efforts in Chicago.

chicagocitytreasurer.com

Chicago Treasurer Kurt Summers says he will not run for Illinois governor, despite seeking the endorsement of Cook County Democratic Party leaders earlier this year.

Instead, he’s endorsing one of the Democrats hoping to unseat Republican incumbent Bruce Rauner.

When Summers said Wednesday that he’s not running for governor, he really didn’t explain why. He endorsed billionaire venture capitalist JB Pritzker, saying Pritzker would best serve the African-American community as governor.

Rici Hoffarth/St. Louis Public Radio

It's a sentiment shared by Democratic politicians and liberal pundits: disgust over how Republicans drew up favorable (for them) legislative districts after the 2010 Census.

Redistricting is blamed for the relative lack of legislative production in Congress and the rise of stringent partisanship, and has prompted Democrats to fight back in several states. Even former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is getting in on the issue, leading the National Democratic Redistricting Committee to crusade against gerrymandering.

Maddee Muuss / WNIJ

Lawmakers are grappling to reestablish ethics in the age of “alternative facts.” In a recent lecture to Northern Illinois University law students, Illinois State Senator and NIU alumna Toi Hutchinson warned against being so rigid in your positions that you cannot empathize with other perspectives.

“Democracy requires participation. Citizenship requires participation,” Hutchinson said. “If we make it so that nobody wants to touch this with a ten foot pole, then we’re cheating ourselves. We do much better when we’re all in, so we all need to be in.”

Governor Bruce Rauner made Rockford one of the stops on his two-day trip across Illinois. He met with a large group made up mainly of his fellow Republican elected officials.

Rauner criticized Democrats in the state Legislature and blamed them for the budget stalemate. He urged them to make Illinois more business-friendly. He told reporters after the event, “I’ll judge myself by how strong the economy in Rockford grows over the next two and six years, while I am governor. And we need a strong economy for everybody in Illinois.”

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