Monday, July 31, 2006

Well, I made a decision

Representative Larry McKeon Announces Retirement
Recommends Jim Snyder as Replacement

Chicago, IL: State Representative Larry McKeon, (D-Chicago) announced today that he will retire at the end of his current term in January, 2007 after 42 years of public service. He has recommended to the five Democratic committeemen that represent portions of the 13th representative district that attorney and community leader Jim Snyder be appointed to replace him on the November general election ballot. Snyder is currently general counsel at the Illinois Commission on Human Rights.

On July 28th McKeon notified the state Board of Elections that he is withdrawing his nomination for the General Election in November. Illinois state law requires the Democratic Committeemen representing portions of the representative district meet within 30 days of the vacancy to elect a Democratic nominee for the November general election ballot. Their nomination and candidate documents must be filed at the Illinois Board of Elections office in Springfield by August 31st.

Representative McKeon communicated his recommendation that Snyder be given strong consideration in their deliberations to elect a Democratic nominee for the November ballot. McKeon stated “I don’t have a vote; I can only make a recommendation. I feel very strongly that Jim is an outstanding candidate and that the elected Democratic Committeemen give him strong consideration. If nominated and then elected in the General Election by the voters of the district he will be an outstanding state representative.”

Representative McKeon indicated that he will begin a “working retirement” advocating for community organizations and public policies involving housing, jobs, economic development, human rights and health care. “After 42 years in public service, I am looking forward to taking some time to travel and enjoy myself” said McKeon, who added, “But for me, retirement won’t mean sitting still.”

“Serving as state representative for the last ten years has been a privilege and special honor. I hope that in some small way, I have made a difference in the lives of my constituents and for all people of Illinois. There remains much to be done; a lot of unmet needs for countless people. One of the most important lessons I have learned over the last ten years is, the importance to remain teachable. Second, that for me personally, it’s often damned hard to be a politician and remain humble. I think my nature is to be somewhat shy and reserved. I truly believe that what ever people may credit me for accomplishing as a member of the General Assembly is in large part the result of the many outstanding people that I have been privileged to work with. The credit belongs to the residents of the 13th district, community leaders, the many volunteers and donors and my colleagues in the Illinois General Assembly for their generous support and counsel,” McKeon added.

McKeon currently serves as the chair of the Labor Committee and vice chair of the Housing and Urban Development Committee. In addition, he is a member of the House Aging and Executive committee's, a member of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) and is a commissioner on the Legislative Ethics Commission.

Prior to his election to the Illinois House of Representatives he was a director at the City of Chicago's Commission on Human Relation and Mayor Richard M. Daley's liaison to the Chicago's Gay and Lesbian communities. He served as a director at Metropolitan Family Services and as a faculty and staff member at the University of Chicago, Roosevelt University, University of Southern California, and California State University at Los Angeles. For over 12 years he was a law enforcement officer and administrator in Los Angeles County serving as a patrol officer, sergeant, lieutenant and watch commander.

Over the years, McKeon has been active in numerous community and advocacy organizations in the 13th district and surrounding area, including the Ravenswood Community Council, Ravenswood Industrial Council, chambers of commerce including the Ravenswood, North Center, Uptown, Lincoln Square, and Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian communities. In addition he serves on the Advisory Council of Horizons Community Services (now the Center on Halsted) and has served as a board member of Horizons and the Alexia Brothers Bonaventure House. McKeon is an active member of the Association of Retired Persons, National Organization of Women, and serves on the Policy Council of Citizen Action Illinois. Larry is also a founding member of Equality Illinois (formerly the Illinois Federation for Human Rights) as well as the Illinois Coalition Against Handgun Violence and a lifetime member of the Illinois Coalition of Persons with Disabilities. McKeon has also been active with many community-based organizations that serve people living with HIV/AIDS, mental health and substance abuse issues.

Some of McKeon's recent legislative accomplishments include: consumer protection legislation protecting home and condo buyers from unscrupulous developers; protection of workers from unfair labor practices; Scotts Law, which provides fines up to $10,000 and driver's license suspensions up to 2 years for drivers who, by failing to yield to an emergency vehicle at an emergency scene, cause property damage or injury; chief sponsor in the House of an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act adding sexual orientation to the laws prohibiting discrimination in employment and housing; establishment of a 7% cap on assessed value of homeowners property in July 2004; sponsored legislation that helps keep seniors in their homes; secured more than $52 million in funds for roads, public transit and community infrastructure and services in the 13th District; sponsored legislation that made changes to the organ transplant laws in Illinois to allow for the transplantation of organs between patients who are HIV positive or living with viral hepatitis; secured a commitment from the Chicago Transit Authority of more than $45 million for the Wilson “L” Red Line station redevelopment subject to final funding; led efforts to insure transit accountability across the state; worked with several colleagues to obtain $6 million in funding for the Center on Halsted, and secured almost $15 million to build a new student/faculty center, freeing up classroom space so that Harry S. Truman College can expand course offerings and better serve its 32,000 students.


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