Will County Progressives want ‘lame duck’ to replace Connor

Ibarra, Bright, said neither Deomcratic candidate for the 43rd District should be appointed in the interim

Joliet township, government

Will County Progressive Co-Chairs Suzanna Ibarra and Christine Bright want the Will County Democrats to “pause” the appointment of someone to fill State Sen. John Connor’s vacated seat in the 43rd District.

Connor announced his resignation Friday, stating he needed three months to care for a loved one. Connor’s resignation was effective noon Saturday.

Both Ibarra and Bright said on Sunday they have heard that Joliet Fire Department Capt. Eric Mattson, who is running for the state senate seat in the 43rd District, may be appointed in the interim.

Ibarra and Bright issued a statement from the Will County Progressives on Saturday against such a move.

“With less than 60 days until the primary we are frustrated to see an attempt to hand off the 43rd State Senate seat to the favored candidate of the political machine,” the statement said. “This move is politics at its worse, done over and over again to keep power in the hands of a select few without letting voters have the first say.”

Ibarra and Bright said on Sunday that the Will County Democratic party should appoint a ‘lame duck’ — someone not seeking that seat — to replace Connor in the interim.

Christine Bright of the Will County Progressives addresses the council on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, at Joliet City Hall in Joliet, Ill. Local activists asked to table a proposal for a citizens police review board in order to collect more community feedback.

Ideally, Ibarra said, she would like to see the winner of the Will County primary elections on June 28 receive that appointment. But those elections are not until June 28 and the appointment must be made within 30 days, Ibarra said.

Appointing either Mattson or Rachel Ventura may give either one an unfair advantage at the polls, Ibarra said.

Ventura, a Will County board member and executive assistant at Joliet Township, is also running for the state senate seat in the 43rd District on the Democratic ticket.

Bright echoed Ibarra’s sentiments.

“Let the people decide,” Bright said. “Otherwise, what are elections for?”

In Saturday’s statement, both Ibarra and Bright asked candidates on both side to “come out now against any attempt to tip the scales in favorite of either candidate” by appointing one or the other so close to the election.

Both Ibarra and Bright wished Connor the best.

“I am really sorry for what John is going through, something so bad that he had to resign from his seat to take care of his loved one,” Ibarra said. “My prayers are with his family.”