Lindsey LaPointe appointed to fill state rep vacancy in 19th Illinois House District
by BRIAN NADIG
Portage Park resident Lindsey LaPointe was appointed the new state representative of the 19th Illinois House District at a meeting of local Democratic committeemen on July 24 at the Austin-Irving Library, 6100 W. Irving Park Road.
LaPointe replaces Robert Martwick, who was recently named senator in the 10th Illinois Senate District. LaPointe’s appointment will last through the end of 2020 and she will have to run in the Democratic primary in March if she plans to hold on to the post.
LaPointe said that as a child she was taught that people should use their “short time on earth” to help others and that her training as a social worker impacts how she approaches life. She recently worked at a public interest law and policy center and at one time served as a homeless outreach worker in the Six Corners area.
As state representative, LaPointe said that she would work with and respect those on both side of issues.
“I will always listen,” LaPointe said. She said that she has been an advocate for reforms in the bail system, adding that “money determines who is detained.”
Judge Aurelia Pucinski immediately swore LaPointe into office at the meeting.
LaPointe’s appointment was not a surprise, as several of the committeemen had agreed to support whomever John Arena, the 45th Ward Democratic committeeman, recommended for the post. LaPointe has served as the vice president of the 45th Ward Independent Democrats.
Arena, who is the former 45th Ward alderman, reportedly had been considering the representative appointment for himself, but he is in line to get a city job, director of labor standards, in the Lighfoot administration.
Others seeking the post were former WGN radio personality Patti Vasquez, former Illinois House Democratic staffer Thomas Kelley, Chicago Teacher Union policy analyst Kurt Hilgendorf, former Harwood Heights trustee Mark Dobrzycki, John Marshall Law School government relations director Judith Hamill, Water Saver Faucet Company vice president Mike Straughn, and J.C. Strzalka-Steil, who serves as outreach director for Martwick’s senate office.
Martwick’s replacement was chosen based on a weighted vote of the committeemen corresponding to the number of votes, 21,389, cast for Martwick in the 19th District race in 2018.
Arena, as 45th Ward committeeman, had 44 percent of the weighted vote, and Martwick, as 38 the Ward committeeman, had 33 percent of the vote. The other committeemen in the selection process were Robert Murphy (39th Ward), Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward), Timothy Heneghan (41st Ward), Barrett Pedersen (Leyden Township) and Frank Avino (Norwood Park Township).
Heneghan has charged that there was a “back room deal” which resulted in Martwick getting the senate appointment in June and in return helping Arena himself or his recommended candidate be appointed to the representative post. Heneghan had been seeking the senate appointment but his efforts were derailed when some committeemen decided to support Martwick instead of him.
Heneghan said that some constituents are upset about committeemen having the authority to fill vacancies in the legislature, demonstrating the need for voters to pay more attention when choosing a committeeman. He said that it would be too expensive to have special elections each time there is a vacancy.