Rep. Cultra Urges Party Leaders to Appoint Aide to General Assembly

December 14, 2010

State Representative Shane Cultra (R-Onarga) is urging GOP Party leaders in his 105th House District to select his legislative aide to fill his seat in the General Assembly for one day as part of an honorary appointment.

Cultra said Russell Geisler, a retired employee with the Illinois Department of Transportation, has been a valuable staff member and has a long history of working with the Republican Party.

"He's gone to Springfield with me every day for eight years, and I just felt like it's a way that I could say thank you to him personally and from the party for their lifetime of service," Cultra said.

Champaign County GOP Chair Jason Barickman is slated to be sworn into the seat on Jan. 10, a day after Cultra resigns to become a state senator. Barickman was appointed in November by Republican Party chairs in the legislative district to fill out Cultra's remaining House term. Cultra said Geisler would serve Jan. 9, and then resign from the seat to pass it on to Barickman.

Donna Giertz, a Champaign Republican committeemen, said appointing someone to the General Assembly as an award is inappropriate and hurts the Republican Party's image.

"This is a public office," Giertz said. "You don't appoint people to a public office to reward them. That's politics. Have a dinner, give them a plaque, and say, 'Thank you for all you've done.' I just can't believe he's doing that."

If Geisler's chosen for the legislative seat, he would serve on a day when the House is in session and could possible cast votes. Cultra said Giertz would have voting rights, but would not receive pension benefits or a salary. A group of Republican County Chairs in the 105th House District will vote Saturday on the special appointment. They will also decide whether to allow Barickman to take office before the new General Assembly is seated on Jan. 12.

Story source: WILL