Mitchell endorses Dixon native
Outgoing state rep notes enthusiasm of young candidate
DIXON – State Rep. Jerry Mitchell doesn’t have a sign in his yard yet, but he said he needs one now.
The outgoing legislator named his pick for the seat Saturday afternoon in front of the Reagan statue on the Dixon Riverfront.
“I’m doing something that I have not done before,” Mitchell said. “I’ve made the statement several times that I really don’t want to endorse Republicans in a Republican primary.”
Mitchell is endorsing Tom Demmer, a Dixon Republican who serves on the Lee County Board and is KSB Hospital’s director of strategic planning.
Demmer faces three other Republicans in the March 20 primary for the 90th House District. They include Liandro “Li” Arellano Jr. of Dixon, Chet Olson of Rochelle, and Dan Sidmore of DeKalb.
No Democratic candidates are running.
“He’s just as enthusiastic as the day he came and talked to me,” Mitchell said. “Tom has wanted to do this for more years than just this.”
Demmer announced his candidacy within days of Mitchell’s August press conference announcing his decision not to seek another term. Mitchell and state Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, both attended.
Mitchell’s endorsement focused mainly on Demmer’s enthusiasm. He didn’t delve into Demmer’s experience or where Demmer stands on issues.
But afterward he said, despite being 25, the youngest of the four candidates, Demmer has been involved in politics for years, working on Bivins’ and the Brady for Governor campaigns.
Demmer also interned in Washington, D.C., and has been on the Lee County Board since 2009.
“He’s been interested and excited about politics for as long as I’ve known him,” Mitchell said. “He’s cut his teeth in politics for a long time.”
Despite Mitchell’s background as a teacher and superintendent, the Illinois Education Association disagreed with his pick.
The professional association instead endorsed Sidmore.
“I told them, ‘The important thing about Tom is he’ll listen,’” Mitchell said. “’Tom’s not going to be closed-minded on any issue. He’s going to look at them and weigh things.’”
Demmer said Mitchell has been a “good adviser and a good mentor” as the state faces some very big issues.
For more information
Go to saukvalley.com/election2012 to learn more about all the candidates facing challengers in the March 20 primary. Read profiles and hear the candidates speak about different issues.