ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- We're hearing from former state representative Chuck Jefferson for the first time today after he announced his retirement this week, and it was an emotional goodbye.
"If it's an emotional movement, I'll share the tears," said Chuck Jefferson.
Chuck Jefferson's goodbye certainly was emotional.
"I figure this was the best time for me to retire," Jefferson said in tears today.
In Jefferson's 13 plus years representing the 67th district, he says he's most proud of helping create sub-circuit districts.
"As a result of that legislation, we elected the first African American judge and we also elected a white female," explains Jefferson.
Jefferson is endorsing a woman, his chief of staff Litesa Wallace, to take his place.
"Litesa knows the office, she's been working in the environment for the last 3 1/2 plus years, she's dealt with legislation, with the legislatives, she's dealt with Speaker Madigan's office as well as a lot of other things," said Jefferson.
Wallace doesn't want to comment on Jefferson's recommendation but she says whomever fills his seat, should embody similar characteristics of the long-time rep.
"Kind of an openness and a willingness to just get and be there with the people," said Wallace.
And that's how Jefferson wants to be remembered.
"I think more than anything, compassionate and caring for all the people I represent," said Jefferson.
Jefferson says it's simply time for him to retire.
The Winnebago County Democratic Party must choose Jefferson's replacement within 30 days. Chairman Charlie Laskonis says he'd like the same person who finishes Jefferson's term through December, to also be placed on the ballot to fill the permanent vacancy.
After serving the city of Rockford and Winnebago County for more than two decades, Rockford State Representative Chuck Jefferson has resigned as the 67th District Representative effective immediately.
Jefferson sent a letter to the Chief Clerk of the Illinois House and House Speaker Michael Madigan, informing them of his resignation.
Jefferson has been the state representative since 2001. Prior to that, he served 10 years on the Winnebago County Board. No reason for Jefferson's resignation has been given. His term expires next year. The local democratic party will appoint a person to fill Jefferson's term.