State legislator plans to work in private sector after leaving office
State Sen. Karen McConnaughay confirmed rumors about her plans after leaving public office Thursday with an announcement she will pursue opportunities in the private sector "related to her public policy interests."
McConnaughay will leave office Sept. 3, according to the announcement, saying one of her first clients will be the Boys and Girls Club of America to help the organization "achieve their policy priorities."
"While I truly have been honored to represent my neighbors and the communities of our district in Springfield, the opportunity to use my public service and help organizations achieve their policy priorities is a new challenge to look forward to," she said.
In the announcement, McConnaughay said she will assist the Boys and Girls Club in building state and local government partnerships across the country. The charity serves more than 4.3 million young people through more than 4,300 clubs.
McConnaughay announced her intentions to not seek another term last month. That left Kane County Republicans scrambling to find a candidate with enough political experience to maintain control of 33rd District State Senate seat.
The local GOP selected former St. Charles Mayor Don DeWitte from a pool of seven applicants. The choice was notable as DeWitte and McConnaughay, who both live in St. Charles, have not always seen eye to eye on political matters. However, Kane County Republicans view DeWitte as the type of leader who can forge successful political relationships even with those he doesn't always agree with.
At the time, DeWitte's selection left unsaid when McConnaughay would step down. With Thursday's announcement, DeWitte will have two months to get established before the November election.
McConnaughay's new role will also put her in contact with Illinois political mainstay Ron Gidwitz. Gidwitz is the former chairman of the Boys and Girls Club of America. He still sits on its board of governors, serving as co-chairman of the government relations committee. Gidwitz also served as the Illinois campaign finance chair for Donald Trump's presidential campaign. He's now in line to become ambassador to Belgium.
McConnaughay's political career features eight years as the chairman of the Kane County Board during times of rapid population growth and development in the region. She moved to the state senate in 2012 where she rose to become Republican Caucus Whip, minority spokesperson for the transportation committee and a member of the Legislative Ethics Commission.