Arlington Heights trustee tapped for 53rd District House seat

A panel of Northwest suburban Democratic leaders picked Arlington Heights village Trustee Nicolle Grasse as the new state representative for the 53rd District.

Grasse will fill the vacancy created when Mark Walker left the post last month to fill the seat in the 27th District Senate left vacant when Ann Gillespie accepted Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s appointment as head of the Illinois Department of Insurance.

The group also nominated Grasse to run for the House seat in the upcoming election.

Six candidates spoke Wednesday at the Mount Prospect Public Library before a panel consisting of Walker, who is Wheeling Township Committeeperson, Elk Grove Township Committeeperson Ted Mason, Palatine Township Committeeperson Maria Galo, and Illinois Sen. and Maine Township Committeeperson Laura Murphy.

The candidates included former Mount Prospect Elementary District 57 school board member Joe Sonnefeldt; Mount Prospect village Trustee Terri Gens; Children’s Advocacy Center Chief Program Officer Jason Wynkoop; former Rolling Meadows Mayor Joe Gallo; and political organizer Phil Dukes.

Candidates were asked questions about their prior voting records, their commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and how they would speak to those inclined to vote for former President Donald Trump.

“I think my public service has prepared me well for this position,” said Grasse, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and a hospice chaplain who has served as village trustee since 2021.

“I felt confident that I was able to fill this vacancy,” she added.

Grasse said her immediate focus is on working with fellow Democrats to win the next election. She also plans to meet with district residents and familiarize herself with the issues facing them.

The 53rd District includes portions of Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg and Elk Grove Village.

Nicolle Grasse
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