SPRINGFIELD -- Republican David McSweeney will start his Illinois House career several days early, after state Rep. Kent Gaffney resigned from his seat.
McSweeney was elected in November and scheduled to start in Springfield with the rest of his freshman class Jan. 9.
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But Gaffney, a Lake Barrington Republican who lost his primary bid this year, resigned this week, and McSweeney will be sworn in Jan. 6.
That's when state lawmakers will be in their so-called lame-duck session, possibly voting on last-minute efforts to legalize gay marriage, ban certain guns and cut teacher and state worker retirements.
"Kent has served our state well and I'm confident that he will continue to be a leading voice in helping to solve the major issues that we face," McSweeney said in a statement. "I also want to acknowledge the longtime service of Mark Beaubien to our community."
Gaffney was appointed to replace Beaubien, a longtime lawmaker from the Barrington area, after his death. Gaffney lost to McSweeney in the primary this year, and then McSweeney defeated Beaubien's widow, Dee Beaubien, in November.
McSweeney will represent the 52nd House District, which includes parts of Algonquin, Barrington, Barrington Hills, Cary, Crystal Lake, Fox River Grove, Island Lake, Lake in the Hills, North Barrington, Oakwood Hills, South Barrington, Trout Valley and Wauconda.