Republican Steve Andersson of Geneva started his job in the Illinois House of Representatives two weeks early Friday when he was sworn in to replace 16-year veteran lawmaker Tim Schmitz.
Schmitz, a Batavia Republican, stepped down Friday, a move that lets Andersson attend next week's special session in Springfield.
The two had talked about the possibility for several weeks, and Schmitz notified Andersson Wednesday, Andersson said.
About 70 people watched as Andersson was sworn in -- as representative of the 65th House District -- by Kane County Associate Judge Linda Abrahamson in a courtroom at the Kane County Courthouse in Geneva.
Abrahamson and Andersson have been friends since they met as classmates at the Northern Illinois University School of Law.
Among those attending were his wife, Nanette; children Sarah and Matthew; and his father.
Lt. Gov.-elect Evelyn Sanguinetti of Wheaton introduced Andersson.
He said he will focus on three things: Balancing the state's budget, pursuing policies that make Illinois a "business-friendly" state and working for government reform, such as enacting term limits and obtaining the "fair map" constitutional amendment regarding decennial redistricting.
"I will protect and defend every tax dollar to ensure that it is wisely spent as an investment in our future," Andersson said.
He also praised Schmitz. "Tim served this district fantastically," Andersson said.
"I am grateful for the honor and privilege to have served our community," Schmitz said. "I will miss the challenges of the General Assembly, but I am looking forward to beginning a new chapter of my professional life."
Schmitz didn't run for re-election, and Andersson was elected in November in an uncontested race. If Schmitz did not leave office early, Andersson would have taken over the seat Jan. 14.
Schmitz was part of the Republican leadership team in the Illinois House under former Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego and has served as a firefighter in Batavia while working as a lawmaker.
Andersson is a partner in the law firm of Mickey, Wilson, Weiler, Renzi and Andersson. He served on the Geneva Library board for five years.
Andersson will serve in the minority party in Springfield, where Democrats in the House and Senate have enough members to override vetoes of incoming Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner if they stick together.
He will be sworn in with other legislators for the 99th General Assembly Jan. 14.
• Daily Herald staff writer Susan Sarkauskas contributed to this report.