State Rep. Christian Mitchell resigns to join Pritzker administration

SHARE State Rep. Christian Mitchell resigns to join Pritzker administration

State Rep. Christian Mitchell. File Photo. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

Calling his work in the Illinois House “one of the honors” of his life, state Rep. Christian Mitchell on Friday tendered his resignation — days before he becomes one of three deputy governors in Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker’s administration.

The South Side Democrat was recently named the interim executive director of the Democratic Party of Illinois, becoming the first African-American to lead the party. He’s served as a state representative of the 26th District and was the youngest member of the Illinois House when he was elected in 2013.

In his resignation, sent to state House Speaker Mike Madigan on Friday, Mitchell writes that he was proud to be part of passing historic education funding, expanding Medicaid coverage, expanding background checks to cover private handgun sales and supporting marriage equality.

Christian Mitchell’s resignation letter | Provided

Christian Mitchell’s resignation letter | Provided

Mitchell is one of three legislators whose replacements will be chosen by Democratic committeemen. On Sunday, Robert Peters, an organizer with ties to a political group that endorsed Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, was chosen to finish the term of Attorney General-elect Kwame Raoul in the state Senate.

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), who also serves as the 42nd Ward Democratic committeeman, has the weighted vote — and will lead the search for Mitchell’s replacement.

A meeting date to select Mitchell’s replacement hasn’t been set yet, according to Jacob Kaplan, executive director of the Cook County Democratic Party. The position, however, must be filled within 30 days.

On Monday, Majority Leader Lou Lang — who served 32 years in the Illinois House —  announced he’s resigning and joining Advantage Government Strategies, LLC — a consulting and lobbying firm headed by Nancy Kimme, the former chief of staff to the late Illinois Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka.

Lang — as the Niles Township Democratic committeeman — gets the weighted vote on his own replacement. Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th) and former State Sen. Ira Silverstein — both Democratic committeemen in the 16th District — will also play a role in finding the replacement.

But Lang has said he will be a “fare broker” in the decision, despite rumblings that his daughter Becky Lang might be interested in the position. Becky Lang is social media strategist with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, an actress and a former volunteer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Pritzker’s transition team on Friday also announced the salaries of his three deputy governors: Mitchell, Dan Hynes and Jesse Ruiz. Pritzker has created an LLC to double the salaries of 20 staffers, including his deputy governors. The three will make $278,000: $139,000 each from the state and the LLC.

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