McGuire replaces Wilhelmi in 43rd District
By Bob Okon firstname.lastname@example.org February 25, 2012 2:32PM
State Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi, D-Joliet, talks about his seven years in office Monday, February 20, 2012. He officially steps down from the state Senate on Saturday and will become a senior vice president for the Naperville-based Illinois Hospital Association. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 27, 2012 8:26AM
BOLINGBROOK — Former Will County Treasurer Pat McGuire is now the state senator of the 43rd District.
McGuire replaces A.J. Wilhelmi, D-Joliet, whose previously announced resignation became official at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Two hours later, a Will County Democratic Party committee for the 43rd District met in Bolingbrook and named McGuire to the post.
McGuire, also a Democrat, said he would drive to Springfield on Sunday and start on the job Monday morning.
“I’m going to be a senator who’s responsive to the residents of the 43rd District, who listens, who’s going to study the issues and won’t be afraid to make the decisions,” he said.
McGuire, a Joliet resident, said that on his way down to Springfield he would drop off a letter of resignation from his position as city clerk in Braidwood.
He previously was Will County treasurer for one term before losing in the 2010 election to current Treasurer Steve Weber. McGuire also was a school board member at Joliet Township High School from 1993 to 2006.
He also is a nephew of state Rep. Jack McGuire, D-Joliet, whose 86th District shares much of the same territory as the 43rd.
The 43rd District stretches from Elwood in the south through most of Joliet and as far north as Bolingbrook and a small part of DuPage County.
While he lost his last election for treasurer, McGuire said he got 58.6 percent of the vote in that section of the county that is in the 43rd District. He said he also was did very well in school board elections in the 43rd District.
McGuire’s appointment to state senate does not necessarily make him the Democratic candidate in the November election. The 43rd District boundaries have been redrawn as part of a statewide remap of legislative districts. So, a new committee will be created based on the redrawn boundaries to name the Democratic nominee.
McGuire’s chances appear to be good, however. Will County Democratic Party Chairman Dennis Grosskopf will hold the biggest sway on the new committee, and he was one of the three committee members who unanimously approved McGuire Saturday.
Grosskopf said McGuire’s strengths include his familiarity with taxes as a former county treasurer, past experience pushing for state legislation as a county official, his roots in the district, and his personality.
“A key part to being a legislator is that he listens to you,” Grosskopf said. “People are going to walk away feeling that Pat has listened to them.”
Several of the other candidates for the position were at the committee meeting Saturday.
R. Dale Evans called McGuire “an excellent selection.”
“If I was on the committee that was going to be my choice,” said Larry Walsh Jr., son of Will County Executive Larry Walsh.
Paige Vanderhyden also commended the selection and said the field was so crowded because vacancies in state legislative offices don’t happen often.
“When an opportunity like this comes up, we all jump in,” she said.
Rumors were circulating before the Saturday meeting that Walsh was going to be named to the seat. But committee member Dan Mahar said the three members made a decision early on in the selection process to only discuss their opinions of the candidates among themselves.
“We believe we have not been influenced in any form by anyone trying to promote their candidate,” he said.