Sandack Named to 21st District Senate Seat
Downers Grove mayor will serve out Elmhurst Republican Dan Cronin's term.
Ending weeks of speculation, Downers Grove Mayor Ron Sandack on Thursday was named to the 21st District Senate seat currently held by Elmhurst Republican Dan Cronin, the newly elected DuPage County Board chairman.
"I'm excited and humbled and honored to be appointed," Sandack said after Cronin's office made the 5 p.m. announcement. "There were some very talented and capable people in the mix as well, and I feel honored to be tapped. And I look forward to doing everything I can to represent the people of the 21st district."
The district includes parts of Elmhurst, Wheaton, Downers Grove, Glen Ellyn, LaGrange Park and Wheaton.
Sandack is the first Downers Grove resident to serve in the state legislature in recent memory—and perhaps the first to serve since Lottie Holman O'Neill was elected to the General Assembly in 1922. She served in both the Illinois House and Senate.
"It's pretty exciting to me," Sandack said.
Cronin's release praised the mayor as a "vocal advocate for pension reform, fiscal accountability and economic development."
"His experience and leadership will be beneficial as Illinois attempts to rebuild its fiscal footing and stimulate our economy to produce new job opportunities," Cronin said.
Sandack won the approval of the 21st Legislative District Committee, comprised of Cronin, Judy Baar Topinka and Mike Corrigan, this afternoon. Sandack said he had no advance notice of the appointment.
Cronin has tendered his formal resignation from the state senate, effective Nov. 30. He will be sworn in as county board chairman on Dec. 6. Sandack said he doesn't yet know when he will be sworn in or other details of his new office. The term expires in 2013.
"I'll have to get the details from Sen. Cronin or someone else from his staff to work out the transition," he said.
Sandack will withdraw his re-election bid for mayor of Downers Grove. Depending on the logistics of the regular legislative session, he may be able to finish his term, which ends in May 2011, he said. "If I can do it, I will."
Sandack returned last evening from Hawaii, where he had attended a convention and marked his 20th anniversary with his wife, Kevan. He did not attend Wednesday's meeting of the Milton Township Republican organization, which overwhelmingly endorsed State Rep. Sandy Pihos, R-42, as Cronin's successor. Sandack came in third in the voting behind Rafael Rivadeneira of Elmhurst.
Sandack reportedly had run up against resistence from several township officials who were upset about the advisory referendum question he spearheaded on the Nov. 2 ballot. The proposition asked Downers Grove voters whether townships and other "unneccessary" levels of government should be reduced or eliminated.
Most recently, on Nov. 12, elected township officials met with Cronin and Sandack to air their grievances and express their concern that Sandack would continue his campaign against townships in Springfield.
While speculation about Sandack's prospects for the Senate appointment reached fever pitch after the Nov. 2 election, the possibility has been discussed in Downers Grove for months.
Following Cronin's announcement that he would run for DuPage County Board chairman, Sandack organized a "Downers for Dan" effort with Commissioner Bob Barnett and attorney Jim Russ.
And the mayor provided hints that higher office might be in his future. For nearly a year, his Twitter and Facebook comments have focused on state rather than local ssues, particularly Illinois' pension conundrum and the need for streamlined goverment.
In making official what has long been surmised, Sandack's appointment now raises questions of a successor. Former village commissioner Martin Tully has filed for the mayoral race and Commissioner Geoff Neustadt, who filed for a second term as commissioner on Nov. 15, a week ago stated he, too, would be a candidate for mayor if Sandack were appointed to the Senate seat.