FREEPORT — Senator Brian Stewart and Representative Andrew Chesney were sworn in Dec. 5 at the Lincoln Douglas Debate Square in Freeport by Michael P. Bald, presiding judge of Stephenson County.
“I want to thank my family, friends, and especially State Senator Tim Bivins for supporting me in this endeavor,” said Stewart. “I am truly honored to have this opportunity and am confident that my extensive experience and proven commitment will help me represent the citizens of the 45th District in the State Senate and help move all of Illinois forward.”
Illinois legislators are scheduled to return to Springfield Jan. 7 before the 101st General Assembly is inaugurated on Jan. 9.
Stewart said he believes bipartisan pension reform, balanced budgets, and common sense economic growth initiatives are immediate priorities.
“The state’s pension liability is now estimated at $150 billion,” Stewart said. “Those dollars continue to erode spending on education, senior services, healthcare, and other areas unless we reform pensions. I will never support passing enormous tax increases on working families. We must tackle this problem to protect our retirees and taxpayers before the system completely fails.”
Chesney said he is thankful for the opportunity to get to work before next month’s inauguration.
“I’m extremely grateful and excited to serve the 89th District and determined to give the people my very best,” he said. “I believe this allows both me and Senator Stewart to transition in a much more seamless way so we can quickly get to work for the great people of Northern Illinois.”
Chesney said he also believes property tax reform is a key priority for the 101st General Assembly.
“Illinois families and businesses pay some of the highest property taxes in the nation. I support legislation that would cap property taxes and give the local taxpayers a say in any tax increases through a referendum,” he said.
“As a young, small-business owner and city council alderman, Andrew Chesney will be able to hit the ground running in Springfield fighting for the best interests of the 89th District,” House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) said. “It is a truly noble calling to take up this great challenge to serve our districts to make Illinois a better state, and I am honored to have Andrew in the House Republican Caucus.”
The 89th Legislative District encompasses all of Stephenson and Jo Daviess counties and portions of Carroll, Ogle, Whiteside and Winnebago.
The 45th Senate District includes the 89th and 90th Legislative Districts, adding all or parts of Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, and LaSalle counties to Senator Stewart’s legislative responsibility.
Stewart will keep former Senator Tim Bivins’ offices at 629 North Galena Avenue in Dixon and at 50 West Douglas Street, Suite 1001, in Freeport.
Chesney will join Senator Stewart in the Freeport office.