Legislative Aide to Join Il. General Assembly for One Day
Within the span of the next couple of weeks, Illinois' 105th House District will have had three lawmakers.
State Rep. Shane Cultra (R-Onarga) will continue serving until Jan. 9 when he resigns to become the state senator of the 53rd district. He is replacing State Treasurer-elect Dan Rutherford. Cultra's permanent replacement in the House is Champaign County GOP Chair Jason Barickman. Barickman will be sworn in on Jan. 10, the day after Cultra gives up the seat.
As a way to show his appreciation to his longtime aide Russell Geisler, Cultra pushed to have Geisler appointed to his House seat for one day before Barickman takes offices.
A group of Republican Party leaders in the district from Champaign, Ford, Livingston, Iroquois, Vermilion, and McLean counties voted unanimously to approve the temporary appointment earlier this month, but not without some hesitation from its members. Gordy Hulten, the outgoing vice-chairman of the Champaign County Republican Party and soon-to-be county clerk, said he is concerned about Geisler's ability to cast votes when the General Assembly's in session.
"They make vote on worker's compensation, or teacher tenure reform, or a $15 billion borrowing plan, and we may have an honorary state representative for a day casting votes or being instructed on how to vote for us, which is even worse," Hulten said. "I live in this district, so I'm not excited about that."
Geisler contended that he has plenty of experience working with Rep. Cultra in Springfield and added that he is well informed about pending legislative measures that may come up for a vote.
"I've been there, down there, and listened to the debates on the floor," Geisler said. "You know, that's why you got the House staff, and if I didn't understand something, I can call them over and say, 'Hey, explain this to me before I do cast a vote.'"
During Geisler's short time in the General Assembly, he will not receive salary or pension benefits, and he has already signed a letter pledging to resign after one day in office.