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Democrats, Republicans Unite To Organize Chicago Area Pitch For Amazon

CHICAGO (CBS) — Dozens of government, business, and civic leaders gathered downtown on Monday to discuss the bid to bring Amazon’s second headquarters to the Chicago area.

Former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley said he thinks Chicago has a good chance at landing Amazon’s new facility, which the company has said will create up to 50,000 jobs.

“Business community, civic community, charitable community is all together, and the political leadership is driving this. So it was a good message, good meeting,” Daley said after the meeting at the Chicago Cultural Center.

State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) was among several Republicans – including Gov. Bruce Rauner – who joined forces with Democrats in a rare moment of unity to discuss how to convince Amazon to build its second headquarters in Illinois.

“We can put our partisan differences aside, we can come together, provide the leadership we need to land this very important economic development interest for the people of Illinois,” he said.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said the Chicagoland area has a lot to offer Amazon.

“We have a wonderful location, and have always been a hub of the Midwest, and the center of the country,” he said.

Several people at the invite-only meeting spoke of Chicago’s diversity as a major selling point.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has showed of the Old Main Post Office as a possible home for Amazon, but it’s unclear how many possible sites the city will propose to Amazon. Others mentioned as possible sites include the Thompson Center, the old Michael Reese Hospital site, the now-vacant Finkl Steel plant, and a plot south of Roosevelt Road along the Chicago River.

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Tribune Media also has released plans to redevelop its 30-acre Freedom Center printing plant site on the Chicago River, and submitted the proposed River District in an effort to land Amazon’s second headquarters.

Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) said it’s unclear which or how many sites would be included in the city’s official bid to Amazon, including three possibilities in his ward; but he said it’s clear any feuding between Democrats and Republicans must end for now.

“I think this is a great opportunity for all of us to agree not to agree on everything, but one thing we agree on is our economy and jobs,” he said.

Competition for the facility is expected to be stiff, as its expected to bring up to 50,000 new jobs with an average pay of $100,000 a year.

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