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Article updated: 11/20/2012 5:12 PM

State Sen. Terry Link to run for Waukegan mayor

State Sen. Terry Link

State Sen. Terry Link

 
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State Sen. Terry Link will run for mayor in Waukegan next year, the veteran lawmaker confirmed Tuesday.

Link, who leads Lake County's Democratic organization and has become one of the most powerful Democrats in the state Senate, said he's been considering a mayoral bid "for a while."

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"Waukegan needs somebody that's going to do something to rejuvenate that town," he said.

Link, 65, said he's the right man for the job because he can ring up political leaders in Washington, D.C., or Springfield, and they'll take his call.

If elected mayor, Link said, he'll serve just one term. He also won't give up the Senate post he's held since 1997.

Simultaneously holding two elected offices is legal in Illinois as long as the jobs don't present a conflict of interest, and there is plenty of precedent.

The late Adeline Geo-Karis simultaneously served as a state senator and the mayor of Zion in the 1980s and 1990s.

Former state Sen. William Peterson of Long Grove simultaneously served as Vernon Township supervisor.

And in addition to being a state representative, Ed Sullivan Jr. of Mundelein is Fremont Township's assessor.

"There's a lot of people who do both," Link said.

Still, conflicts might arise, said Kent Redfield, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield. For example, the Senate might be asked to vote on a budget proposal that eliminates a funding source for local governments, he said.

Redfield also questioned if it was fair to constituents of the 30th District or the people of Waukegan if a single politician were to hold both posts.

"I don't think it's a good idea to try to serve two masters," Redfield said.

Link isn't worried about not having enough time for legislative and mayoral responsibilities. He called the Senate post "a part-time job in every regard."

Link filed candidate paperwork at Waukegan's city hall Monday, less than two weeks after winning re-election to the 30th Senate seat. He defeated Republican challenger Don Castella of Lincolnshire for a 2-year term.

Castella couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

Bob Cook, head of Lake County's Republican Party organization, was puzzled by Link's new political aspirations.

"I know how much work has to be done in Springfield," Cook said. "The state is broke and we have pension problems, and I would think that would be a full-time job."

Waukegan's current mayor, Robert Sabonjian, won his first term in 2009 as an independent. A former Democrat, he had shed his party label while still a member of the Lake County Board.

Sabonjian couldn't be reached for comment.

Link politely declined to comment on Sabonjian's tenure.

Candidates for municipal offices that have partisan primary elections began filing nomination petitions Monday. The primary election is Feb. 26, 2013.

The filing deadline is Monday, Nov. 26.

The consolidated election -- deciding races for municipal, school, library and township boards -- is April 9.

The filing period for candidates running in the April 9 election is Dec. 17-24.

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