Local Democrats Want Transparent Process Selecting Jefferson Replacement

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The Winnebago County Democratic Party has less than three weeks to fill Chuck Jefferson's former seat in the Illinois House, after he retired last week. Now some democrats are calling for a more transparent process.

The countdown is on to choose a replacement for Chuck Jefferson's 67th district seat. Some members of the local democratic party feel the selection process needs to be more open.

"I'm a state central committee chairwoman and I have not even been brought into the mix as to what they're doing and the reason why I'm having this is because the voters are concerned, they want to know what is going on," said Dorothy "Dot" Turner, 17th District State Central Committee Woman.

Charlie Laskonis, Chairman of the Winnebago County Democratic Party, says nothing has happened yet. He says the process will start next week when the Winnebago County Central Committee meets to decide on a three-person panel; that panel will choose Jefferson's successor.

"We are following the letter of the law to ensure the process is done correctly," explained Laskonis.

Turner says the panel should get input from democratic committee members. She also points to party procedures to notify potential candidates of the process for filling this spot.

She says, "So that other applicants can put in their resumes and you can look at who the best person is to fill the position."

Laskonis says, "(The panel)will be as open as possible. As the chairman, I'll take input from anybody who wants to give it."

Input is welcome next Thursday, July 17th when the central committee meets.

Laskonis will likely to be on the three-person panel. Also, Turner helped circulate petitions to 67th district voters, supporting a more transparent process for filling Jefferson's seat.

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