* The end of an era…
The influential longtime leader of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association is announcing Monday that he will retire from the post, but he isn’t giving up his more than four decades of involvement in politics and government.
Gregory Baise will be succeeded Jan. 1 by Mark Denzler, the current vice president and chief operating officer.
“I’ve been a witness to great changes, economic challenges and global shifts that have been met by the men and women who belong to the IMA. Their ability to adapt and overcome in very challenging times must be commended,” Baise, 66, said in a statement.
“Throughout my career, I’ve been an active participant in public policies that affect job creation and the economy. I look forward to the next chapter where I can remain active in that arena,” he said.
Baise will continue to run Xpress Professional Services, a for-profit subsidiary of IMA that performs direct mail, TV ad production and other chores for political candidates, and which operates the well-known We Ask America polling operation.
Baise, 66, will be succeeded by IMA Vice President and COO Mark Denzler, who will run the organization day to day, take over its lobbying operation and lead the group’s political action committee, which in some cycles contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars to state candidates. […]
Along with a few other figures such as Ron Gidwitz (now the U.S. ambassador to Belgium) and former Illinois Retail Merchants Association chief Dave Vite, Baise was a holdover from the days when fiscally conservative but socially moderate Republicans in the Thompson mold ran the Illinois GOP.
Greg has been a friend of mine for many, many years. I use We Ask America’s polls, so I’m a bit conflicted with my opinions, but I have nothing but respect for the man. We’ve had our arguments, but the guy is a true gentleman. Denzler has some big shoes to fill, but he’s been gradually taking over Baise’s responsibilities for several years. He’ll do fine.
* On to the next one. From a press release…
State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) has been appointed to the post of Deputy House Minority Leader today, earning him a #2 spot in the House Republican Caucus. This recognition follows a Spring Session that saw Demmer lead the charge on enacting both a new Hospital Assessment Program on behalf of his caucus as well as successfully negotiating a bipartisan, historic State Budget agreement which resulted in “No New Taxes” and provides stability to state finances.
Demmer is serving in his third two-year term in the Illinois House, where he has quickly gained a reputation as one of the most knowledgeable and thoughtful legislators in the House Republican caucus. Rep. Demmer’s appointment was announced by House Minority Leader Jim Durkin on Monday, “It is an honor to have Tom Demmer serve as our next Deputy Minority Leader in the House Republican caucus,” Leader Durkin said. “In his time as a legislator, Tom has become a leading voice for our caucus and a fighter for our Republican principles in Illinois. He was instrumental in passing our state’s first balanced budget in decades earlier this year and I look forward to working with him in getting more important reforms passed for Illinois.”
Demmer is the Director of Innovation & Strategy at KSB Hospital in Dixon. Prior to his election to the General Assembly, he served on the Lee County Board. Demmer graduated from the University of Dayton, after having served as a White House intern in the Office of the Vice President of the United States in 2006. Demmer is a 2016 Henry W. Toll Fellow with the Council of State Governments. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home Preservation Foundation. He is a co-founder of the Future Caucus of millennial legislators in Illinois and has balanced a work-load of serving on 14 committees in the Illinois House this Spring Session.
“I thank Leader Durkin for his confidence and support,” Demmer said. “I am proud of the work our caucus has done to fight for a better future for Illinois, and I look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders to bring new opportunities for Illinois families.”
Demmer has become Durkin’s most trusted lieutenant, so this was not unexpected. Keep an eye on this guy. He may look young enough to be a page, but he’s smart, has mad skills and obviously has enormous stamina. I mean, 14 committees? Who else could do that?
Former St. Charles Mayor Don DeWitte has been selected to fill the 33rd District State Senate seat soon to be vacated by Republican Karen McConnaughay, a party official said Saturday.
Kane County Republican Party Chairman Ken Shepro said DeWitte was selected from among seven candidates.
Retiring Rep. Steve Andersson (R-Geneva) had wanted that slot. Andersson voted to override the governor’s tax and budget vetoes last year, so there was a lot of behind the scenes push-back against him. I’m told DeWitte is a moderate like McConnaughay.
But DeWitte’s appointment means there will be one fewer woman in the Senate Republican caucus next year.
* And, finally, from a press release…
The Republican 47th House District Selection Committee is pleased to announce today the appointment of College of DuPage (COD) Board of Trustees Chairman Deanne Mazzochi to the Office of State Representative for the 47th House District of Illinois.
“I am grateful for this appointment to serve the people of the 47th District,” said Mazzochi. “Our communities are accustomed to the excellent services that Representative Bellock provided, and we are committed to maintaining them. Residents already have reached out to me on issues ranging from O’Hare and Tollway expansion, redistricting, property taxes, budget, and social services. I’m excited to get started and direct my energy and experience learning and listening to find creative ways to help this district, and to advocate for good policy during the November legislative veto session.”
The vacancy was created when retiring Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) was recently appointed director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Mazzochi ran unopposed in the GOP primary.