Tension Over Senate Pick


11/11/2019 07:59 AM EST

Happy Veterans Day, Playbookers! Illinois’ top vet, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, is marking her 15th “Alive Day” and visiting a site in Tijuana that helps vets deported in this Trump era. h/t Lynn Sweet


Patrick Joyce, a businessman from Kankakee, was appointed state senator for the 40th district, replacing Toi Hutchinson, who has taken a job as Illinois’ first cannabis czar.

The Friday night appointment has already caused tension within the Democratic Party.

Hutchinson is African American and held the seat for 10 years, so many Democrats we heard from expected the position would be filled by an African American candidate. That didn’t happen — even though the two African American women vying for the seat have more political experience.

Joyce, who is white, was backed by Kankakee Democratic Committeeperson John Willard, who had the largest weighted vote in the decision-making. Joyce, the son of the late former state Sen. Jerry Joyce, lives in Willard’s district. He also had votes from Dick Joyce, chair of the Grundy County Democrats. Yep, he’s Patrick Joyce’s cousin and got a say in the decision.

The other candidates were Chicago Heights City Clerk Lori Wilcox,Legislative Black Caucus Foundation Executive Director Monica Gordon, and Marta Perales, comms secretary for the Kankakee County Democrats. All three women told Playbook they are still running for the seat in the March primary.

“If you were there, you would have wondered how that gentleman got that seat,” Teresa McNeal, who said she attended the Friday vote as an interested constituent, told Playbook. “I’m not a Democrat or Republican. I’m for what’s right.” She said Joyce’s introduction “was great” but he wasn’t able to answer questions with the same detail as Gordon, for example. “I’m embarrassed that in 2019 racism or prejudice is still the narrative.”

Willard and Dick Joyce told Playbook they thought Patrick Joyce was the best person to represent their counties based on his business acumen. Willard said the senator must face issues such as Kankakee River restoration, building a suburban airport and taking advantage of the new cannabis industry to replace “beleaguered corn and soy markets.” Joyce has run a composting operation which diverts yard waste from landfills “and creates a valuable, marketable product in the process,” according to Willard, who would not otherwise share Joyce’s bio. “It is this kind of creative thinking that citizens want from the elected officials.”

Article: https://www.politico.com/newsletters/illinois-playbook/2019/11/11/tension-over-senate-pick-keeping-tabs-on-springfield-new-sf-da-is-a-chicagoan-487640

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