CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – There are 10 people vying to replace late Sen. Scott Bennett in Springfield. A handful of them just got the stamp of approval from Bennett’s wife.
Sen. Stacy Bennett (D-Champaign) released a letter Wednesday morning naming four people she encouraged to apply. She said she and her husband talked frequently about his retirement after his coming term, and who his replacement might be. The four names she listed “consistently came up”.
“When thinking about his potential successor, the most important thing for Scott was that it be someone who would represent and listen to all of the 52nd district’s constituents, not just the individuals who agree with them,” Stacy wrote. “While the 52nd district leans democratic, it is a very diverse district with dramatically different opinions and issues throughout.”
The four people she named include Unit 4 School Board member Gianina Baker, Champaign Township Assessor Paul Faraci, Champaign Township Supervisor Andy Quarnstrom, and City of Champaign Community Relations Manager Mary Catherine Roberson. Of the 10 people applying, Baker, Quarnstrom, and Faraci are all in the running. Roberson is on the advisory committee choosing Bennett’s replacement.
“Scott believed these people would bring integrity, and valuable experience and perspectives to the senate, while also listening to and representing the entire district,” Stacy said.
Two people who have been in the spotlight to fill the seat, Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) and Champaign County Democratic Party Chair Mike Ingram, were not mentioned.
The Champaign Democratic Party has also released answers from a questionnaire all candidates filled out about their legislative priorities.
Champaign and Vermilion County Democrats will hear from all 10 candidates Wednesday night on a zoom call. Each of the candidates will be given five minutes to make their pitch. The 16-person advisory committee is then expected to meet Thursday to make their recommendation. From there, Vermilion County Democratic Party Chair Sandra Lawlyes and Champaign County Democrats Vice-Chair Cari West-Henkelman will make the final choice.