LOCKPORT - John Connor, an assistant state's attorney for Will County, was selected as the new state representative for the 85th District, which includes Lockport, Romeoville and Bolingbrook.
The announcement was made Saturday afternoon at the White Oak Library District in Lockport. Connor and the other applicants interviewed that morning for the position. The seat became open when McAsey resigned June 2. She resigned because she was moving with her husband, who accepted a job on the east coast.
“I knew Emily McAsey,” Connor said. “I'm looking forward to taking over. She did a great job. She was very familiar to us and very accessible and I want to continue that tradition of accessibility and actually going out and meeting the constituents.”
Connor said he's looking forward to getting started right away, especially since Gov. Bruce Rauner called a special session of the House of Representatives before the June 30 deadline to reach a budget deal. The selection process was moved up because of a sense of urgency due to the special session. Connor will be heading to Springfield on Monday.
Will County Democratic Party Chairman Scott Pyles said the selection committee picked Connor because they thought he would have the “lowest learning curve” on the job.
“I think the consensus on the committee was that Mr. Connor was the best candidate to hit the ground running,” Pyles said.
Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow, whom Connor has worked under for most of his career, helped recommend Connor for the job and praised his work at the office. He highlighted Connor's work on the Drew Peterson case and more recently on a number of child pornography cases. He said Connor was assigned to the unit that used specialized computer analysis to catch criminals.
“We're on the edge of a cliff right now,” Glasgow said. “And we need people like John, who are intelligent and forceful, to make tough decisions and get this state back on track.”
There were three other applicants for the seat: Karen Johnson, who as elected collector for Lockport Township, Dean Morelli, a Lockport Township trustee and retired deputy from the Will County Sheriff's Office, and Jared Taylor, a Romeoville resident and development coordinator for corporate relations at Lewis University. Taylor was ultimately not considered because he had never voted in a Democratic primary.
While Connor said his legal knowledge and experience in trying to argue in court helped him prepare for and ultimately get the job, he is well aware of the historic state of affairs in Springfield after two years without a budget.
“There's no doubt that it's daunting,” Connor said. “What I like to do, is when you see a big task, you got to roll your sleeves up, and you have to dive in.”