September 14, 2021
Chicago is messing with Texas: Indeed, World Business Chicago, the public-private operation that serves as the city’s economic development arm, says it took out a full-page ad in the Sunday Dallas Morning News on September 12—inviting corporations to head north for the warm business climate and stay for the more liberal abortion and voting laws, The Chicago Tribune reports
The red, white, and blue print ad represents a swipe at restrictive legislation the Lonestar State passed on both fronts in recent months.
The ad opens with a friendly “Dear Texas” and proceeds to note that there “were always more than 100 Reasons” for companies to set up shop in Chicago, from the tech boom to the city’s place as a transportation hub.
But it quickly turns from a recruitment message to a political statement, offering “a few more” reasons to come to Chicago, including “Every person’s right to vote” and “Protecting reproductive rights” and “Science to fight COVID-19.”
As the Tribune reports, Texas is in the throes of several political battles on abortion and voting rights that have divided the nation. The state’s new abortion law, signed by Republican Governor Greg Abbott, prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect a baby’s heartbeat, usually around six weeks (and before many women know they’re pregnant).
This week, Abbott signed an elections overhaul into law that adds more voting restrictions in the booming state, after Democrats spent months protesting what they say are efforts to weaken minority turnout and preserve the GOP’s eroding dominance.
And last month, Abbott banned government mandates on mask-wearing and vaccines as the Delta variant of COVID-19 surges across the nation.
World Business Chicago spokesperson Andrew Hayes calls the ad “a bold step” on the city’s part, explaining that it’s an invitation to “Texans and Texas-based companies, challenged by recent controversial state laws and policies, to consider relocating to Chicago.”
The ad sets the stage for a new round of Democrats vs. Republicans. No doubt Texas GOP officials will fire back at Chicago and Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the chair of World Business Chicago, over soaring crime in that city—and as the reason Texas businesses should stay put.
Asked about the forthcoming ad, Governor Abbott’s Press Secretary Renae Eze said in a statement: “The Texas economy is booming. People and businesses vote with their feet, and month after month they are choosing to move to Texas more than any other state in the country. Businesses are relocating to and investing in the Lone Star State at a record pace because we’ve built a framework that allows free enterprise to flourish and hardworking Texans to prosper.”
Research contact: @chicagotribune