BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (STMW) - Local Democrats have tapped Bridgeview Mayor Steve Landek to replace retiring state Sen. Lou Viverito, who just voted for a controversial state income tax hike.
Democratic committeemen met Saturday at Toyota Park in Bridgeview and gave the nod to Landek, who also is head of the Lyons Township Democratic Committee.
Here's how it happened.
The conference room, where Landek was approved and applauded, was set up for a public meeting. At the head of the room, long tables flanked by flags had microphones resting on them. Committeemen took their seats.
Facing them was a small table for public comments. Residents, local politicians, police officers and business owners filled the rows behind it.
But no one came forward to speak. There were no ad hoc nominations for the 11th District state Senate seat, no discussion about Landek's willingness to assume the position.
The meeting was over in just less than six minutes, with House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) doing most of the talking, and the voting. An attorney stood by to ensure correct procedure.
Set up a committee to nominate a candidate? Appoint a committee chair? Nominate Landek?
"Those in favor of that motion will say, 'Aye,' those opposed, say, 'No.' The 'Ayes' have it. The motion is adopted," Madigan said in a single breath.
"Is there any discussion on the question? OK, no discussion," he said in another.
No ayes or nays were uttered. None of the committee members actually cast a voice vote.
"For those who go to our meetings, they're pretty fast. But if you listen to the speaker, we voted in our minds, he read our minds, it was perfect," Landek said over laughter in the room. "For those that serve on the board with me, we might do that to speed up our meetings."
Landek said his swearing-in will take place before he gets to Springfield on Tuesday. It will be a private ceremony, he told the crowd during his acceptance speech.
"When I run and get elected as the full senator, then we'll have a party," he said.
Landek, who's been mayor of Bridgeview for the past decade, said he'll continue in both roles.
"I work a lot of hours, there's no problem for me," he said. "I have a huge capacity to be able to work, so I'll do both jobs."
Afterward, Viverito, of Burbank, applauded efforts to keep the Senate seat in the southwest suburbs.
"The emphasis had to be on the fact of trying to keep it in the suburbs rather than bringing it into the city of Chicago," he said.
Appointed in a similar process in 1995, Viverito said he wanted to retire with two years left in his term because of his commitments as supervisor of Stickney Township and chairman of the public health district.
"I've almost had 16 years here," he said of his Senate tenure. "I just got tired. I'm getting older now."
Madigan shook a few hands, then left.
The speaker's presence accounted for heavy security at Toyota Park, with police photographing the license plates of cars that entered the parking lot.
© Sun-Times Media Wire Chicago Sun-Times 2010. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
for more features.