Local leaders continue push to bring Amazon HQ to Chicago

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In another push to bring the new Amazon headquarters to Chicago, Illinois leaders hosted a breakfast meeting with hundreds of local politicians Monday. (WLS)

In another push to bring the new Amazon headquarters to Chicago, Illinois leaders hosted a breakfast meeting with hundreds of local politicians Monday.

Governor Bruce Rauner and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined politicians and business leaders to discuss the opportunities Amazon could create.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told a packed room at the Cultural Center that Chicago has what Amazon is looking for in its second world headquarters.

"I want to be clear to Amazon on day one, the Second City's your first choice," said Emanuel.

The e-commerce giant is taking bids from cities around the country and leaders pointed to the importance of Chicago's business history in luring Amazon and its 50,000 jobs.

"We talk about changing the habits of consumers, across America it was Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward in Chicago that made the difference. When it was air travel in the 60's it was an old orchard now known as O'Hare that made the difference. We're going to do it again," said Sen. Dick Durbin.

There were some concerns that Governor Bruce Rauner took a negative tone by talking about Illinois's high taxes, but he defended his comments as an important reality check.
"I reminded everybody that let's send a message that all of us in Illinois are committed together to keeping our taxes down and keeping our regulations competitive, I've heard this from Amazon, this is not coming from me, I'm hearing this from Amazon and other business owners," Rauner said.

Besides touting Chicago's strengths like transportation networks, an educated work force, and a high quality of life for potential Amazon employees, Emanuel also championed the city for another reason.

"They're looking for the diversity of the economy and the diversity of the workforce that only Chicago can provide, that's a tremendous strength," Emanuel said.

When it comes to Amazon, political differences are not an issue for Illinois' leaders.

"I think the message is, first of all, that all the elected officials in Illinois are united behind our bid so there's a bi-partisan effort to secure Amazon's second headquarters," said Preckwinkle.

"Amazon would be lucky to be in Chicago in my opinion to be frank with you so, it's a kick off of an effort that's community-wide, city-wide, state-wide," said Bill Daley of the Chicago Community Trust.

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