An appointed state lawmaker running in next month’s primary could have her qualifications challenged, starting with a hearing this week.
State Rep. Eva Dina Delgado, D-Chicago, was appointed by Democratic party officials in her district after Luis Arroyo resigned from the seat in November. He was arrested on charges of bribing an unnamed state senator. He also gave his local party votes to someone else who then cast the winning votes for Delgado to fill the vacancy.
But several state representatives filed motions challenging Delgado’s appointment.
State Rep. Anne Stava-Murray, D-Naperville, said she served Delgado a petition on Jan. 29 that called into question the new state representative’s qualifications.
Stava-Murray said in her petition that Delgado’s husband was appointed to a “position of influence” with the Latino Caucus.
“[T]he process and subsequent appointment created by that process indicated the political sway that a person alleged to have engaged in brazenly clear bribery (and known amongst House colleagues to repeatedly ask ‘what's in it for me?’) retained even while vacating the House seat to which he had been elected,” Stava-Murray said in the petition.
Earlier this month, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, filed a petition that laid out the timeline of Arroyo’s charges and subsequent resignation, and the questions around Arroyo giving his local party votes to someone else to cast for his replacement.
“Mr. Arroyo gave his proxy votes to Alderman [Ariel] Reboyras to be used towards choosing Ms. Delgado,” Durkin said. “Although Mr. Arroyo was not present for the actual vote, his decision to give his votes to be voted by proxy had the same effect as if he was present at the actual vote to fill the vacancy.”
State Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside, said those filings triggered hearings set to begin this week.
“Per the House rules, this committee had to be established,” Welch said. “I’m honored and privileged to be appointed to chair this committee. I think my background fits the appointment well and we’re going to make sure it’s done fair, it’s going to be done impartially without politics, and I think it’s extremely important that we get this right.”
Welch cited his experience being a lawyer for the past 20 years and said he is a “certified administrative hearing officer trained to serve in a quasi-judicial role.”
The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
“We have to let the parties make their cases and follow the evidence where it goes and just keep politics out of it,” Welch said. “I think that’s extremely important and make sure that Representative Delgado has her due process.”
If the committee recommends expulsion, another committee will take the measure up before it goes to the whole House for a vote.
Delgado says she’s qualified for the position and she will prove that to voters in the March primary.
“My appointment followed the law every step of the way, and I am confident that my qualifications as an attorney, community leader and experience in the public and private sectors will withstand any challenge,” Delgago said in a statement. “While this filing is disappointing, I remain focused on representing the interests of the hard working people of the district I am honored to represent.”