Frerichs resigns from Senate seat, search for replacement begins

By Josh Winters

Democratic Treasurer-elect Michael Frerichs filed his resignation from the Illinois General Assembly this week, officially launching the search for his successor to Illinois Senate District 52, which stretches across parts of Champaign and Vermillion counties.

Democratic County Chairmen Frank Wright, Vermillion County, and Al Klein, Champaign County, announced their plans to host public meetings in both counties formerly represented by Frerichs in January, allowing candidates to speak directly to their constituents.

“We expect plenty of interest, and we want to make sure every candidate gets a chance to present their case,” Wright said in a statement. “Anyone who takes that seat will have some big shoes to fill.”

Frerichs, who served in the Senate for eight years, narrowly won his bid for Illinois treasurer in the 2014 election with just over 9,000 votes. The slim margin of victory led to a concession from his opponent, Republican Tom Cross, on Nov. 19, two weeks after Election Day.

Before being elected to represent the 52nd District in 2006, Frerichs served on the Champaign County Board and was elected Champaign County auditor from 2002 to 2007.

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During his time in the Senate, Frerichs acted as chairman for both the Senate Agriculture and Conservation Committee and Higher Education Committee. Frerichs was also a member of Licensed Activities and Pensions, Energy and Financial Institutions Committees.

“I’ve known Mike for a long time, and he will continue to be an important voice for us in Springfield. He’s going to be tough to replace,” Klein said. “This is an important process and we have to do our homework and be diligent to find the best person to look out for our community’s interests.”

Illinois law requires the Democratic chairmen to serve as a special legislative district committee to appoint a member of the party to inherit Frerichs’ Senate seat.

In order to be be eligible for a position in the Illinois Senate, a candidate must be a United States citizen, at least 21 years old and must have been a resident of the district for the last two years.

Josh can be reached at [email protected].