Madigan backs second successor after first steps down over ‘questionable conduct’

(The Center Square) – Just days after former state Rep. Michael Madigan handpicked his replacement to the Illinois House, state Rep. Edward Guerra Kodatt, D-Chicago, has stepped down and power broker Madigan has now backed Angelica Guerrero Cuellar.

“This morning, the House Clerk received Rep. Kodatt’s resignation,” according to a statement from House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch’s office.

In a joint statement with Chicago Alderman Marty Quinn late Tuesday from a Madigan spokesperson, Madigan suggested Kodatt resign “after learning of alleged questionable conduct.”

“After learning of alleged questionable conduct by Mr. Kodatt, it was suggested that he resign as state representative for the 22nd District,” the statement said. “We are committed to a zero tolerance policy in the workplace.”

Madigan did not elaborate on the nature of the conduct.

Madigan selected Kodatt on Sunday. Madigan has a weighted vote in the district that allowed him to select his replacement. The selection was not unanimous. There were two other candidates that were nominated Sunday by other Democratic party officials from the district.

When a state Representative steps down before the end of their term, officials from the affiliated party in that jurisdiction select the successor.

“After a fair and robust process on Sunday, we are prepared to proceed with selecting a replacement for the 22nd District Illinois House seat from the pool of candidates who already presented to the selection committee,” Madigan said in a statement as the ward committeeman. “I believe the most equitable way to proceed is to nominate the candidate who received the second-highest vote count. It is my intention to nominate Angelica Guerrero Cuellar.”

Chicago Ald. Silvana Tabares nominated Cuellar on Sunday.

Cuellar said she’s a product of the community as the daughter of immigrants who moved to the southwest side of Chicago. Cuellar works with a nonprofit company in West Lawn with a focus on contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’ve seen the data,” she said, noting the district is among the hardest hit by COVID-19. “I understand my community.”

Cuellar said she supports the governor’s moves during the pandemic to order activity and businesses restrictions.

“It still needs to be necessary,” she said.

She also said she’s applied to be a police officer with Chicago Police Department, but she would focus on the House role if asked to join CPD.

“My purpose is to do public service, and I think the 22nd District, this role is far greater in that, but will I continue having discussions and collaborations with CPD on maybe changes and how we work together,” she said.

The 22nd House District committee will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday.

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