Rosemont mayor appointed state representative
Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens is about to become very busy.
City and suburban Republicans on Saturday unanimously elected the three-term mayor to serve as state representative for the 20th District, which includes portions of Rosemont, Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Niles, Schiller Park and Chicago's Northwest Side.
Stephens will continue as mayor while serving out the 18 months remaining in the term of his predecessor, longtime political ally Michael McAuliffe, who stepped down earlier this month after 23 years to spend more time with his family.
Saying he was honored and humbled to be selected, Stephens vowed to fight for lower taxes, safe neighborhoods and good-paying jobs.
Asked how he would vote on legislation in which district or state interests might conflict with Rosemont's interests, Stephens says he doesn't foresee that happening.
"Something that's good for Rosemont is good for the state," he said, adding that according to village calculations, in 2018 Rosemont generated about $90 million in revenue for Illinois and received about $13.3 million in state funding.
House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, a Western Springs Republican, said Stephens' reputation for bipartisanship should serve him well. "He's someone who can walk over to the other side of the aisle to find a solution."
Stephens' experience managing people and industry and working with other mayors, boards and organizations will prove valuable, Durkin said, who described his new General Assembly colleague as a welcome addition to the legislature and the Republican caucus.
Republicans also hope Stephens, head of the Leyden Township Regular Republican Organization, which Durkin calls one of the strongest in the state, will be able to hold the seat in 2020.
Char Foss-Eggemann, Maine Township Republican committeewoman, said Democrats will target the "left-leaning" district with the resignation of the entrenched McAuliffe, who was the city's only Republican state representative. Stephens' moderate views make him a great fit for a Chicago-Leyden Township dominated district, she said.
"There is no Republican in the 20th District with the political firepower and the fundraising prowess necessary to hold this seat other than Brad Stephens," Foss-Eggemann said.
The newly minted legislator/mayor will draw two salaries. As mayor, Stephens earns $260,000 per year. As a legislator, he will earn $69,000 per year. Asked about potential "double-dipping" charges, Stephens says his mayoral salary will be "docked" for the time he's in Springfield, per Illinois' constitution, which reads: "No member of the General Assembly shall receive compensation as a public officer or employee from any other governmental entity for time during which he is in attendance as a member of the General Assembly."
"I'm going to err on the side of caution ... and be as transparent as possible," Stephens said.