State rep re­signs to join Pritzker ad­min­is­tra­tion

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY TINA SFONDELES, PO­LIT­I­CAL RE­PORTER ts­fonde­[email protected]­ | @Ti­naS­fon State Rep. Chris­tian Mitchell

Calling his work in the Illi­nois House “one of the honors” of his life, state Rep. Chris­tian Mitchell on Fri­day ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion — days be­fore he be­comes one of three deputy gov­er­nors in Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The South Side Demo­crat was re­cently named the in­terim ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Demo­cratic Party of Illi­nois, be­com­ing the first African-Amer­i­can to lead the party. He’s served as a state rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the 26th Dis­trict and was the youngest mem­ber of the Illi­nois House when he was elected in 2013.

In his res­ig­na­tion, sent to state House Speaker Mike Madi­gan on Fri­day, Mitchell writes that he was proud to be part of pass­ing his­toric ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing, ex­pand­ing Med­i­caid cov­er­age, ex­pand­ing back­ground checks to cover pri­vate hand­gun sales and sup­port­ing mar­riage equal­ity.

Mitchell is one of three leg­is­la­tors whose re­place­ments will be cho­sen by Demo­cratic com­mit­teemen. On Sun­day, Robert Peters, an or­ga­nizer with ties to a po­lit­i­cal group that en­dorsed Bernie Sanders’ pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, was cho­sen to fin­ish the term of At­tor­ney Gen­eral­elect Kwame Raoul in the state Sen­ate.

Ald. Bren­dan Reilly (42nd), who also serves as the 42nd Ward Demo­cratic com­mit­tee­man, has the weighted vote — and will lead the search for Mitchell’s re­place­ment.

A meet­ing date to se­lect Mitchell’s re­place­ment hasn’t been set yet, ac­cord­ing to Ja­cob Ka­plan, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Cook County Demo­cratic Party. The po­si­tion, how­ever, must be filled within 30 days.

On Mon­day, Ma­jor­ity Leader Lou Lang — who served 32 years in the Illi­nois House — an­nounced he’s re­sign­ing and join­ing Ad­van­tage Gov­ern­ment Strate­gies, LLC — a con­sult­ing and lob­by­ing firm headed by Nancy Kimme, the for­mer chief of staff to the late Illi­nois Trea­surer Judy Baar Topinka.

Lang — as the Niles Town­ship Demo­cratic com­mit­tee­man — gets the weighted vote on his own re­place­ment. Ald. Pat O’Con­nor (40th) and for­mer State Sen. Ira Sil­ver­stein — both Demo­cratic com­mit­teemen in the 16th Dis­trict — will also play a role in find­ing the re­place­ment.

But Lang has said he will be an hon­est bro­ker in the decision, de­spite rum­blings that his daugh­ter Becky Lang might be in­ter­ested in the po­si­tion. Becky Lang is so­cial me­dia strate­gist with the Illi­nois Sec­re­tary of State’s of­fice, an ac­tress and a for­mer vol­un­teer for Hil­lary Clin­ton’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign.

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