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updated: 8/5/2013 2:40 PM

Naperville Councilman Grant Wehrli running for Illinois House

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  • Grant Wehrli

    Grant Wehrli

  • Video: Wehrli announces candidacy


As one elected official from Naperville aims to step from state to federal politics, another announced Monday he will seek a state representative position from his seat on the city council.

Grant Wehrli, an eight-year veteran of the Naperville City Council, says he will run as a Republican next year for the District 41 seat in the Illinois House.

The seat currently is held by Republican Darlene Senger, also a Naperville resident and a former city council member who announced last month she will seek a seat in the U.S. Congress now held by Democrat Bill Foster.

Wehrli said Senger's move gave him an opportunity to step into state government and focus on finances, the economy and job creation.

"If we don't address our state's finances, businesses will continue to leave Illinois and not expand in Illinois," Wehrli said, calling business expansion "the only way we're going to get our unemployment number down."

Wehrli, a 44-year-old lifelong Naperville resident, said he is not yet aware of anyone else interested in the state House seat for the 41st District, which covers Naperville and the southern portion of Warrenville.

He said he plans to apply the same principles Naperville used to manage its finances during the recent recession at the state level.

"Naperville is an example of how good government works," he said. "We work collectively. There's no partisan politics; it's not about power. It's about leaving things better for those that follow behind us."

Wehrli's roots in town date back to the 1840s on both the Wehrli and Knoch sides of his family, and he says public service runs in his bloodline. His father served on the city council and his grandfather was a federal judge.

"There has always been instilled in me a sense of community and wanting to help others, so this is just a continuation of that," he said of his state House bid.

In addition to serving on the city council, Wehrli serves on the Naperville Development Partnership, the Naperville Riverwalk Commission, the Naper Settlement Museum Board and the Naperville Central Redhawk Hockey Association.

Senger said she supports Wehrli's bid for the state House seat she is giving up to seek a congressional post. She said his plans to share best practices gained from governing Naperville follows the approach she has taken.

"I was happy to be able to share some of the things I learned on the city council with my colleagues in Springfield. I know Grant will continue to do the same," Senger said. "He'll do a great job."

The primary election will be March 18, 2014, followed by the general election on Nov. 4 of that year.

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