The Will County Republican Central Committee made history this week when its members elected George Pearson to be its chairman, the first African-American to hold the position.
The organization also said Pearson is the first African-American to hold an outright, countywide chairmanship in the state. The former chairman, Marianne DeMerritt, resigned in January, so Pearson decided to run and was voted in unanimously, according to a news release from the organization.
Pearson is a U.S. Navy veteran and former police officer who moved to Monee in 2001. He said he moved to Will County for the lower taxes and safety, and he wanted to stay involved in politics as he has experience working on state and federal campaigns.
“I wanted to get involved and do something a little more in depth,” Pearson said.
Pearson said the Will County Republicans have been actively recruiting diverse members and candidates for local office. He said the party in Will County is diverse, and he wants to spread that message, especially ahead of upcoming elections.
The new chairman also said it was the party’s performance in the 2018 midterm elections that motivated him to run for his position. The Republican countywide candidates on the ballot got wiped out, and the party lost control of the County Board.
“We got our hands handed to us because we did not have a solid message,” Pearson said.
Pearson said under his leadership, the party will have a unified message and recruit quality candidates in preparation for 2020.