Rolling Meadows Mayor Tom Rooney will be sworn in as a Republican state Senator in just a few weeks and plans to resign as mayor later this fall. Here's what Rooney has to say about his time in Rolling Meadows and his hopes as he heads down to Springfield:
Q: How does it feel to be leaving Rolling Meadows and moving on to the state Senate?
A: Of course it's difficult to leave something I've been doing for a long time. I'm certainly still going to keep my eye on everything. I still live in town and I'm not going anywhere. Now I just get to represent the same people on a higher level. Plus, I've wanted to be in a House or Senate chamber since I was 17 years old, so this is a special moment.
Q: How will you work with Gov. Bruce Rauner and the gridlock in Springfield?
A: I'm already feeling that the caucus in the Senate is a great big club of people who want to be unified and charge forward. They're sending that signal from the governor on down, and it's a neat feeling. It feels like a tremendous honor to get to be a part of the team.
Q: What will it be like to go from being in charge of a city to being one of a group of senators in the minority in the statehouse?
A: I'm sure it's going to be very different. I remember the feeling of being a new alderman and having to learn what was going on -- this will be like that in spades.
Q: What will be your top priorities in Springfield?
A: Economics, economics, economics. I probably border on annoying in Rolling Meadows because of how often I beat the economics drum. I plan on bringing that same drum down to Springfield. Hopefully, someone with that background can bring a new perspective.
Q: What about your students at West Leyden High School -- will they still see you in the classroom?
A: I'm a teacher at heart and I hope to keep teaching. The school has been amazing. We're trying to work out a way to be able to pull this off where I can continue teaching and so the kids at Leyden can get some benefit as well.