Scott Bennett Sworn In To Replace Mike Frerichs In General Assembly
An interview with new State Sen. Scott Bennett.
Hours after Mike Frerichs resigned his seat in the legislature, area democrats appointed his replacement Monday morning.
Frerichs is now Illinois' state treasurer. And a couple hours before that, his senate seat was given to Scott Bennett, a Democrat from Champaign.
Bennett was selected by local Democratic party officials, among a field of 12.
Illinois' newest freshman senator in the General Assembly is a prosecutor in the Champaign County State's Attorney's office. He says his top priority in the legislature will be directing funding to what he considers preventative measures — things like education, mental health and job creation.
"First of all, it's the humane thing," he said. "You're actually treating the behavior which is causing that criminal behavior, but it's going to actually bring a lot of savings to the criminal justice system. The most expensive way to address it is through jail."
Bennett will be joining a heated budget debate in Springfield when he begins his term Wednesday--especially now that Governor Bruce Rauner has taken office. Rauner had vehemently opposed extending the 2011 state income tax hike. Now that it's sunsetted, the state faces a multi-billion dollar budget hole.