Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios
Welcome to our inaugural annual Axios Chicago Energy Gamers Checklist, an opportunity to look again at influential leaders who left their marks on our space this 12 months.
Methodology: We chosen these energy gamers utilizing our personal experience, polling readers and thru interviews with influential folks.
- The unscientific record is produced fully by the Axios Native editorial group and isn’t influenced by promoting in any manner.
- These chosen weren’t notified till publication.
📬 After all, 10 spots will not cowl each influential particular person in Chicago, however we respect your time.
1. JB Pritzker
Past recapturing his Springfield throne this 12 months and spurring predictions of a presidential run, Gov. Pritzker wrestled full management of the state Democratic celebration from the outdated guard and soundly thumped Republicans throughout the Land of Lincoln.
- In a metropolis and state with a protracted historical past of political energy gamers, Pritzker has cemented his identify among the many Daleys, Stevensons, Madigans and Burkes.
2. Theresa Mah
A file quantity of Asian People received public workplace this 12 months in Illinois, and sources inform us that state Rep. Theresa Mah labored arduous to arrange and procure funds behind the scenes to make it occur.
- Mah, the primary Asian American to serve within the Illinois Basic Meeting, helped increase that quantity by 800% in six years.
Making waves this summer season, Mah challenged Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposed location for a brand new Near South Side high school with a view to give her Chinatown constituents a say within the challenge.
- And downstate, she obtained the state honest to vary its “Ethnic Village” to “Village of Cultures.”
3. Jennifer Welch
Within the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, local leaders stood firm that Illinois would stay a secure haven for abortion rights.
- Standing behind these politicians was Deliberate Parenthood of Illinois president and CEO Jennifer Welch.
- Below her management, the group has expanded providers, together with plans for a mobile clinic that can present providers close to the state’s southern border as soon as open.
4. Stacy Davis Gates
Led by Stacy Davis Gates and Jesse Sharkey, the Chicago Teachers Union work stoppage final January practically paralyzed the town within the identify of securing COVID-19 protections.
Relying in your perch, she both saved lots of of hundreds from COVID publicity or unnecessarily held up schooling within the nation’s third greatest district.
- As a substitute of operating for mayor this cycle, Gates will wield the CTUs appreciable energy to assist decide our subsequent chief.
5. Matt Moog
Matt Moog, the CEO of Chicago Public Media, finalized a historic merger earlier this 12 months between WBEZ and the Solar-Occasions.
- The 2 reporting groups now share newsrooms and content material in what could turn out to be a mannequin for saving native journalism by means of signing up paying members — except it would not.
Labor disputes with the Solar-Occasions union have exposed cracks in CPM’s traditionally progressive facade, but when Moog can pull off a harmonious and sustainable partnership between the 2 establishments, will probably be a coup for native readers.
- The entire journalism world is watching.
6. Olga Bautista
The self-described “mama bear” from the Southeast Aspect, Olga Bautista, the manager director of the Southeast Environmental Process Power, is a rising star in Chicago’s environmental justice motion.
Bautista and the duty pressure fought not only a main company, however the city of Chicago — and received.
7. Eric Williams & Erick Williams
Whereas the Williamses (no relation) are separated by just one consonant, the 2 entrepreneurs would possibly as effectively be the co-mayors of 53rd Avenue in Hyde Park. Every has had an unimaginable 12 months.
- Eric Williams owns the Silver Room and opened the groundbreaking Bronzeville Vineyard, which has earned accolades for its excellent modernist American delicacies in a uncared for a part of city.
- Chef Erick Williams received a James Beard Award for his celebrated Advantage restaurant, cooked at charity occasions all year long and expanded his empire with the brand new Daisy’s Po-Boy and Tavern throughout the road.
8. Eve L. Ewing
Educator, activist and poet, Eve L. Ewing noticed her works reworked this 12 months.
- Ewing’s collections of poems on the 1919 race riots turned a stellar theatrical production at Steppenwolf.
- And Ironheart, a Marvel character that Ewing wrote the comic book series for, made a leap to the display screen in “Black Panther: Wakanda Ceaselessly.”
- An Ironheart collection is about for Disney+ in 2023.
9. Candace Parker
The Chicago Sky may not have repeated as WNBA champions this 12 months, however that did not cease Candace Parker from rising her nationwide profile by means of a number of slick ads.
10. The Italian beef
Our heat, juicy buddy splashed onto the nationwide stage in 2022 because of FX/Hulu’s “The Bear.”
It did not damage that puppy-eyed actor Jeremy Allen White turned a nationwide heartthrob as a chef who perfects the dish between bouts of existential disaster.
- Now to show the world about giardiniera.
Go deeper: See all 200 of Axios Local’s Power Players in 2022
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