Buffalo Grove parks board member replaces Link in Illinois Senate

Adriane Johnson, a Buffalo Grove Park District board member with a long history of community involvement, will fill the seat of disgraced former state Sen. Terry Link, local Democratic leaders announced Sunday night.

Johnson, who also serves as board president for the Buffalo Grove-Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, was sworn in Sunday and will hold Link's former 30th District seat through the 2022 election. She is the first Black state senator from Lake County, according to Lake County Democratic Party Chair Lauren Beth Gash.

"What stood out about Adriane is her service in local government, experience chairing a statewide advocacy organization, business knowledge, and proven commitment to public service," Gash said in an announcement of the appointment. "The feedback from people in the 30th District was universally positive and compelling,"

Gash and state Rep. Mark Walker of Arlington Heights, in his role as Wheeling Township Democratic Committeeperson, made the decision to appoint Johnson.

Link resigned his senate seat last month in the wake of a federal income tax evasion charge. The Indian Creek resident, a state senator since 1997, admitted guilt Sept. 16 as part of a plea deal in which federal prosecutors agreed to seek a sentence of probation rather than a prison term of up to three years.

According to court documents, Link falsified his federal tax return for 2016, reporting his total income that year was $264,450, even though prosecutors say he earned at least $358,309.

Gash said Johnson was chosen from a field of nearly 50 people who applied for the post.

"With Adriane in office, I am confident we found the right person and that the residents of the 30th District will have exceptional representation for the rest of the term," she said.

Johnson, a Buffalo Grove parks board member since 2011, also serves as chair of the Illinois Association of Park Districts' Board of Trustees. The longtime Buffalo Grove resident is a member of the village's board of fire and police commissioners and the Rotary Club of Buffalo Grove.

"Serving the public is something I have prioritized for my entire life, and I am eager to continue my public service as a state senator," Johnson said in Sunday's announcement. "I care deeply about racial equality, protecting open spaces and our environment, supporting small business, and ethics reforms. I was so honored this summer to speak at the Black Lives Matter peaceful protest on Juneteenth, and I believe it is critically important that we work toward eradicating systemic racism and restoring the soul of our nation."

Johnson indicated that she would not seek election to the seat in 2022, an important consideration, according to Gash.

"Given the unusual circumstances that created this vacancy, and that petitions to run for this seat in the next election will be available less than a year from now, many preferred appointing someone not planning to run for the seat, then allowing the voters to decide in a primary who should be the Democratic candidate going forward," she said.

The 30th District includes all or part of Waukegan, North Chicago, Park City, Gurnee, Wadsworth, Buffalo Grove, Vernon Hills, Mundelein, Wheeling, Riverwoods, Lincolnshire, Indian Creek, Northbrook, Prairie View, and Mettawa.

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