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Article updated: 7/19/2013 3:08 PM

State Rep. JoAnn Osmond won't seek re-election in 2014

JoAnn Osmond

JoAnn Osmond

 State Rep. JoAnn Osmond, here visiting with students and officials at Hillcrest School in Antioch, won’t seek re-election next year.

State Rep. JoAnn Osmond, here visiting with students and officials at Hillcrest School in Antioch, won't seek re-election next year.


Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2008

 JoAnn Osmond, left, was sworn in by then-Chief Judge Jane Waller in 2002. Osmond has decided not to seek re-election in 2014.

JoAnn Osmond, left, was sworn in by then-Chief Judge Jane Waller in 2002. Osmond has decided not to seek re-election in 2014.


Paul Valade | Staff Photographer, 2002

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Veteran Antioch Republican JoAnn Osmond won't seek re-election to the state House in 2014, she confirmed Friday.

"It's time for me to move on," Osmond, 67, told the Daily Herald. "Twelve years is more than enough."

Osmond has served in Springfield since December 2002, when she was appointed to replace her late husband, Tim Osmond, in the 61st District. She rose to the rank of assistant GOP leader in the House.

It was Tim Osmond's death from a fatal heart attack in 2002 that spurred JoAnn to action in what was perhaps her most notable legislative cause: the expansion of automated external defibrillators in schools, at parks and at other facilities throughout the state.

Her work earned her recognition from the American Heart Association, which gave her a Legislative Life Savers Award.

She remains proud of her first piece of legislation, a 2003 law that limited insurance companies' ability to use credit scores to cancel customers' policies.

Osmond also championed a 2011 law, inspired by the work of Antioch High School students, that allows people to drop off unwanted prescription medication at participating police stations. The effort aimed to keep drugs out of landfills, water supplies or the hands of people who'd use them illegally.

In addition to working in Springfield, Osmond served as the leader of the Lake County Republican Party from 2004 to 2006.

The party's current local boss, Bob Cook, praised Osmond for being easygoing and upfront with other politicians and constituents.

Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor called Osmond "an outstanding representative for the county." One of the area's youngest political leaders, Lawlor said he has appreciated Osmond's mentorship.

"She's kind of known as the mother hen of our Republican leaders," said Lawlor, a Vernon Hills Republican.

During her years as a lawmaker, Osmond earned endorsements from conservative groups including the Illinois State Rifle Association, the Illinois Federation for Right to Life and the Lake County Right to Life.

But she also has been known to reach across the aisle on legislation she feels is important for her constituents.

For example, Osmond voted to legalize medical marijuana earlier this year.

"She really stands up for what she believes in," said state Rep. Carol Sente, a Vernon Hills Democrat.

State Sen. Melinda Bush, whose district includes Osmond's, said she'll miss working with Osmond in the Capitol.

"(I) respected her opinion and the work that she's done," said Bush, a Grayslake Democrat.

A proponent of term limits, Osmond said she's deliberately capping her own political career. She said she wants to spend more time with her three young grandchildren.

Osmond defeated Lindenhurst Democrat Ed Erwin in November to keep her post.

Republican Party leaders are reviewing names of possible candidates to run for the GOP nomination in the spring, Cook said.

The 61st District covers all of Winthrop Harbor, Zion, Newport Township, Wadsworth and Old Mill Creek. It also includes parts of Gurnee, Antioch, Lake Villa and Lindenhurst.

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