If appointed to open legislative seat, Rosemont mayor says he would keep both positions
Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens has put his name up for consideration for the legislative seat vacated by Michael McAuliffe and says even if he were chosen, he would remain mayor.
The clock is ticking for Republican committeemen in the next 30 days to appoint a replacement for McAuliffe, who announced Monday he was stepping down after 23 years to spend more time with family. McAuliffe, who was the lone Chicago GOP state representative, is a key political ally of Stephens, who heads the Leyden Township Regular Republican Organization.
Together, Stephens and McAuliffe -- who is also the 41st Ward Republican committeeman -- would have enough weighted votes of GOP committeemen throughout the 20th state House district to put Stephens over the top.
McAuliffe would get 36% of the weighted votes, Stephens 16%, and Maine Township GOP Committeeman Char Foss-Eggemann 30%.
"I've talked to Char and told her I'm exploring my options," Stephens said Tuesday. "It didn't seem she was averse to it."
Other committeemen to vote include party leaders in Norwood Township, Niles Township and Chicago's 38th Ward.
If appointed to the seat, Stephens said he would retain his $260,000-a-year job as mayor, saying there's no state law forbidding holding two elected positions and pointing to Democratic state Sen. Steve Landek, who is also mayor of Bridgeview.
"A lot of Michael's positions align with my thought," Stephens said of McAuliffe. "I think I could represent the district well or I wouldn't even consider it. I'm not about a power grab."
State lawmakers will get base salaries of about $69,000 a year as a result of a pay raise they voted on last month, plus per diems and, in some cases, leadership stipends.
Stephens said he'd be able to juggle both positions since he's always connected to his email and phone. He has seven weeks of time off in his village position, and last year, the legislature was in session for 64 days. "There's a big difference in serving in Springfield and being mayor of Rosemont," Stephens said. "Some folks like to say mayors don't usually do well in Springfield because you're sitting behind a desk in the mayoral position and you say, 'Get this done,' and it gets done -- and that's not the way things work in the legislature."
"I understand that. I get that."
Whoever is appointed would serve the remaining 18 months on McAuliffe's term, then likely begin circulating petitions after Labor Day to get on the ballot for the March 2020 primary election. New legislative maps will be drawn after the 2020 census.