* If elected, and that’s not yet certain, Sen. Lightford would be the first woman and the third person of color to be Senate President…
Democratic state Sen. Kimberly Lightford of Maywood has emerged as the leading candidate to become the next Illinois Senate president after John Cullerton’s stunning resignation announcement last week.
Lightford, currently the Senate majority leader, would become the first African American woman to preside over a chamber of the Illinois legislature. […]
Two potential candidates to replace Cullerton aligned themselves with Lightford — state Sens. Andy Manar, a former Cullerton chief of staff from Downstate Bunker Hill, as well as Heather Steans from Chicago, who has family wealth to help Democratic candidates.
* More from Amanda Vinicky…
“I look at her leadership in the state senate and I see success after success in what is one of the most diverse Democratic caucus in the U.S. Not an easy task. Senate President Cullerton did it – mastered it. That’s what I’m interested in and I believe she has the skill set and the knowledge and the ability to continue that for the Senate Democrats,” Manar said.
Sen. Tony Munoz is also reportedly backing Lightford.
…Adding… I just talked to Sen. Munoz and he confirmed he’s supporting Lightford.
* But not everyone is on board…
“I am talking with my colleagues and I am assessing their concerns and interests in the caucus. I expect that I will run for Senate president but I want to keep talking to my colleagues before making any formal announcements,” [Sen. Don Harmon] said. “People are eager for change but people also want to be sure that the next Senate president has all of the attributes to be effective both inside the building in terms of having good public policy, but also in the political spectrum. Our public policy victories are only as durable as our majority.” […]
[Sen. Mike Hastings] says the next president has to be a leader who shapes policy that lawmakers from all of the state’s diverse regions can get behind while also serving as a political operator who can get Democrats elected. That requires having a political operation and the ability, “unfortunately,” to raise money.
“I have all those things,” Hastings said. “I can count … probably five senators that have legitimate political organizations – a base of volunteers to send anywhere in the state, and are able to handle their own district, with no problem taking tough political votes. If you’re going to be the leader you got to lead the whole chamber.”
Sen. Hastings was sued in September by his former district office chief of staff who claimed harassment and retaliation.
As we’ve already discussed Sens. Elgie Sims and Melinda Bush are also interested.