Outgoing state Rep. Lou Lang on Monday said he was unaware of speculation that his daughter may become his replacement.
But he didn’t discourage her from applying.
Lang said he’s already seeking resumes from those in his district. And if his daughter is interested, “if she lives in the district, she should do so [apply].”
But Lang said he hasn’t had any conversations with her about it and vowed to be an “honest broker” about his replacement.
The Skokie Democrat — who served 32 years in the Illinois House – on Monday announced he’s resigning and joining a prominent Republican-led consulting and lobbying firm.
Lou Lang had served in the Illinois House since 1988 and most recently served as deputy majority leader. And he’ll ultimately play a role in naming his replacement with a weighted vote, according to the state’s Constitution.
Becky Lang is an actress, a social media strategist with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office and also volunteered for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. And yes, she currently lives in the district. She has been publicly supportive of her dad’s legislative efforts on social media, and stood up for him as he faced #MeToo allegations last year. On Monday as her father announced his resignation she wrote on Facebook: “I love you and I’m so proud to call you my Daddy.”
Lang said he’s already seeking cover letters and resumes for the position, which must be filled within 30 days.
“I’ve been the committeeman for Niles Township for a very long time … there are a lot of qualified interested folks,” Lou Lang said. “And we shall go through a process. While I have enough votes likely to make this decision all by myself, I’m not going to make it all by myself.”
Lou Lang said he “wouldn’t make a unilateral decision anyway,” and will choose “somebody that we all like.”
Reached by the Sun-Times, Becky Lang did not directly answer whether she’s seeking the position: “Today, I’m really just focusing on everything my dad has done for our state. I am so proud of him!”
Ultimately, Lou Lang — as the Niles Township Democratic committeeman — gets the weighted vote. Ald. Pat O’Connor (4oth) and former State Sen. Ira Silverstein — both Democratic committeemen in the 16th District — will also play a role in finding the replacement.
Lou Lang’s resignation comes months after he was cleared of harassment allegations by the state’s acting legislative inspector general. Julie Porter ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to prove harassment happened, in part because the woman who accused him would not be interviewed for the investigation.
Lang will become partner at 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 was an early supporter of Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker. And Republican lobbyists throughout the state will now have to push through bills with a tricky Democratic supermajority.
Lang told the Sun-Times he’ll continue to work on bills pertaining to mental health, gambling, sports betting and expansion of cannabis, among other areas — all issued he worked on in his years in the Legislature.
“Things I fought against all my life are not going to become my clients,” he said.
As for whether the #MeToo allegation played a role in him stepping down, Lang told the Sun-Times: “not one iota.”
Whether Lang is succeeded by another Lang remains an open question.
A potential political hand-off is certainly not new in Illinois, specifically in Cook County. In 2004, Democratic Rep. William Lipinski engineered the elevation of his son, Dan, as his successor in the Southwest Side and suburban 3rd Congressional District. The younger Lipinksi, of course, remains in that position.
Powerhouse Cook County Board President Dan Ryan first joined the County Board in 1923 to take the commissioner slot of his father, who had died. And when Ryan died in 1961, his wife, Ruby, took over his slot.
The City Council has also seen its fair share of hand-offs: Ald Edward R. Vrdolyak (10th) helped anoint his brother, Victor, his successor in 1986; Mayor Daley tapped Margaret Laurino to replace her father in 1994; and Ald. Carrie Austin was named 34th Ward alderman after her husband died of a heart attack.
And the Cullerton family had a place in the City Council for more than a century, dating to the Great Chicago Fire. When Ald. Thomas W. Cullerton died in 1993, the family had represented one ward or another for 107 of the previous 122 years. It came to be known “the Cullerton seat.”
Lou Lang joins a list of legislators leaving the Illinois General Assembly, with some being chosen by Democratic committeemen, not voters. 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 Illinois Senate.
Peters landed the appointment during a meeting of the 13th District Democratic Legislative Committee at Toni Preckwinkle’s 4th Ward office in Hyde Park.
A replacement hasn’t yet been named for state Rep. Christian Mitchell, D-Chicago, who was named one of three deputy governors in December.
Mitchell is expected to resign from his legislative position within days.