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First black Republican in 30 years takes Illinois House seat

Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013

* Pat Quinn’s Cutback Amendment was the end of black Republicans in the Illinois House, until this week

Republican officials have chosen a Kendall County sheriff’s deputy, who’ll be the first black Republican lawmaker in the state Legislature in three decades, to replace resigning state Rep. Pam Roth, of Morris.

John Anthony, 37, was appointed after GOP officials in the four counties making up the 75th District — Kendall, Grundy, Will and LaSalle — deliberated over nine potentials Monday. Their pick was announced Tuesday. […]

His appointment comes as Republicans have vowed to better reach out to minorities in the wake of major Election Day losses.

Anthony, who also has roots in Puerto Rico, will be the first black GOP state lawmaker since the early 1980s — something Thornton said was simply “icing on the cake.”

“He transcends,” she said.

It’ll be interesting to see what the House Black Caucus does now.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

28 Comments
  1. - Just Me - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 1:02 pm:

    The cutback amendment was the worst thing that ever happened to the General Assembly. More power to Leaders, less bi-partisanship, and it only saved a teeny-tiny fraction of the State’s budget. Maybe if we still had that method we wouldn’t be in the mess that we’re in right now, but it polled well which is why Quinn liked it.


  2. - Anon - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 1:04 pm:

    Maybe they’ll treat him like crap the way some in the Latino Caucus treated Rep. Frank Aguilar… I hope not.


  3. - Just Me - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 1:07 pm:

    @Anon 1:04 pm….I completely forgot about how Aguilar was treated by that caucus. The Black Caucus should see this as an opportunity to have a voice in the House GOP Caucus, not as a threat.


  4. - Been There - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 1:07 pm:

    ===It’ll be interesting to see what the House Black Caucus does now===
    The Latino Caucus includes John Cabello so I would hope the Black Caucus accepts Anthony the same way.


  5. - Downstater - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 1:09 pm:

    Why is there even a black or Latino caucus?


  6. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 1:16 pm:

    Downstater, why didn’t u ask why there was a downstate caucus, or a Republican downstate caucus?


  7. - Fed up - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 1:26 pm:

    If this was part of an Anglo organizations own description of their purpose Eric Holder would consider them a hate group.

    “The Illinois House Legislative White Caucus is a coalition of legislators committed to ensuring that white people - their views, issues, communities, and interests — are represented in the legislative process. ”

    That being said lots of these groups and caucuses, maybe not so much in Ill some really goofy ones in US house.


  8. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 1:26 pm:

    Or a Sportsmans Caucus, or a White Sox Caucus.


  9. - Phenomynous - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 1:28 pm:

    Sullivan Caucus = Best Caucus


  10. - Mouthy - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 1:33 pm:

    Bring back the three representative districts and have them run for four year terms. At least you had a voice from your district with the State’s leadership. I can only remember one district that had two Democrats and an independent serving in the 177 seat legislature’s final years.


  11. - Norseman - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 1:47 pm:

    It’s a nice backstory, but my issue is is whether he is an extremist (hope not) and whether he supports the constitutional protection of public pensions (hope so).


  12. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 1:51 pm:

    “He transcends,”
    Is that as in ‘the Dude abides’?


  13. - Downstate Illinois - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 1:52 pm:

    I just with the AP reporter knew enough about state government to add that he was going to serve in the House of Representatives as a state representative. At no time does she mentioned his title. Only the district number, which is higher than 59, indicate that he would serve in the House.


  14. - Been There - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 1:55 pm:

    ===It’s a nice backstory, but my issue is is whether he is an extremist (hope not) and whether he supports the constitutional protection of public pensions (hope so)===
    Is his choice limited to the union caucus or the Rauner caucus?


  15. - Rail Sitter - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 3:07 pm:

    Downstate IL, if he is replacing State Rep Pam Roth what office do you think he is going into? It’s right there in the first sentence.


  16. - chica1 - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 3:17 pm:

    Since he also has Puerto Rican roots he might join the Latino Caucus, nice to have options.


  17. - Loop Lady - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 3:22 pm:

    If he’s a moderate, I couldn’t care less what color he is…


  18. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 3:57 pm:

    I can not say how incredibly thrilled I am to see the HGOP, and the leaders of former state Representative Roth’s district found a person to fill the seat Roth is vacating.

    Mr. John Anthony is a great choice.

    The historical perspective is beyond discussion.

    Thirty plus years, the HGOP has not had an African American in its Caucus. That is a fact, undeniable, and it needs more than to just be noted. I understand that, I appreciate its significance, and embrace its meaning.

    I also am not even remotely satified.

    We in My Party need to embrace the Reagan Rule of 80% and in our embrace, we must include all colors, all creeds, all people… everyone.

    My thirst for diversity is not quenched by this one great new member that is going to be sworn-in, my thirst is growing … my thirst is far from being satisfied.

    I want My Party to be a party that announces an African American member in its midst as “Republican” and not “AA Republican”. When we, in My Party, make this business as usual, and welcoming, and diverse, then I will be at peace that we in the ILGOP are doing … ALL… we can to be the Party for everyone, everywhere, with our Principals as the leading Agenda in Illinois Government.

    Someone needed to be first. first in 30 plus years. Until we as a Party make this a mundane topic … diversity … I will continue to go thirsty.

    I am excited, I am thrilled. We have a well-qualified nominee to be sworn-in to replace Pam Roth.

    He is African American. He is Puerto Rican.

    He is a Republican.

    When we finally get the order of “who” are members are right, then my thirst wil begin to go away.

    Joe Anthony is going to be sworn-in. Anthony is a Republican. He is “a first”, but for all of Our sake … in My Party … Anthony should not… be our last … except for our … latest.


  19. - captaingeorge - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 4:26 pm:

    Well said Oswego Willy!


  20. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 4:55 pm:

    What OW said.


  21. - Levois - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 5:10 pm:

    I look forward to that day myself OW. I say this as a Black male who doesn’t consider himself a member of either party


  22. - CarrollCounty - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 5:10 pm:

    Reminds me of the old story of Gary Franks of CT, who forced the House Black Caucus to become the House Democratic Black Caucus for a while in the 90’s

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1955&dat=19930615&id=UpguAAAAIBAJ&sjid=NaEFAAAAIBAJ&pg=4372,8819292

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Franks


  23. - Excessively Rabid - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 6:13 pm:

    Also what mouthy said. Proportional representation was way better. And while we’re amending the constitution, let’s have a unicameral legislature. No point in having two houses apportioned on the same basis; the way things are now, “second prize is two of ‘em.”


  24. - A Casual Observer - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 7:14 pm:

    I have met Mr. Anthony but I only talked with him for 5-10 minutes. I am glad that I did. He came across in that brief time as a very bright guy with a pleasant personality. Pam Roth had an accounting background which Illinois residents will miss down in Springfield. Mr. Anthony is (or was?) a deputy sheriff so I am not so sure what they really brings to the table? However, he may have other skill-sets that I am not aware of. I was concerned that he was chosen by the four GOP county Chairmen in the 75th District over the other 8 or 9 aspirants for Pam Roth’s remaining term primarily because of his racial profile. My fear was that the Illinois GOP was “picking and choosing” to promote the “Big Tent” image for the GOP. The GOP press releases I saw made a concerted effort to point out that he was African-American and Puerto Rican. His and his wife’s photos were also prominently displayed in their GOP press releases. I wondered if any of the other individuals that were seeking Roth’s spot would have had their photo taken along with a caption that “so & so” was part Italian and part Polish? Ahh, I don’t think so but that is politics I guess. Just teasing. If I hadn’t met John Anthony, my first thought would have been that the GOP chose a deputy sheriff primarily so that the GOP could benefit or capitalize on his minority status. But, after meeting the guy and talking to him—-I can understand why they chose him. He wasn’t chosen based on his racial makeup. They chose him because he actually is “a good fit”. The racial thing is or was “irrelevant” or as Chairman Thornton (I believe) said, “It was just icing on the cake.” Good luck to you, Mr. Anthony. Illinois needs “all the help that we can get” down in Springfield.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 7:26 pm:

    Thanks to all for the very kind words. Mr Anthony is rallying us all, and I hope My Party remembers; a big tent means bringing people IN, not talking about brining people IN.

    A beginning…


  26. - bureaucratic party - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 7:38 pm:

    “He transcends”. Does that mean he’s competent?

    That would be a refreshing change for the HGOPs.


  27. - TooDaLooMuthaF - Wednesday, Aug 21, 13 @ 7:50 pm:

    If the Black Caucus has integrity like the Latino Caucus it will accept him with open arms - as the Latino Caucus has welcomed republican Rep. Cabello with open arms


  28. - Dan - Thursday, Aug 22, 13 @ 11:57 am:

    A minority conservative. The liberals will try destroy him at all costs. With all this badmouthing the GOP as the “white man’s party” there are sure more and more Latinos and Blacks being elected and switching parties as Republicans. Free enterprise trumps the welfare state and it is colorblind. It’s equal opportunity to succeed and fail, not the government creating equal outcomes.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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