Anazette Collins chosen to replace Hendon in Senate

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Monday’s unanimous selection of state Rep. Annazette Collins, D-10th Dist., to replace former state Sen. Rickey Hendon, D-5th, came as no surprise to some elected officials who supported her candidacy from the very beginning.

Monday’s unanimous selection of state Rep. Annazette Collins, D-10th Dist., to replace former state Sen. Rickey Hendon, D-5th, came as no surprise to some elected officials who supported her candidacy from the very beginning.

“She has a vast amount of government experience, which is needed as a state senator,” U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis, D-7th Dist., told the Defender. “With that amount of experience I am confident she will do a fine job.”

The Senate seat became available after Hendon, who was not available for comment, resigned last month after 18 years in office.

The selection was made by 13 committeemen, including Aldermen Emma Mitts (37th ) and Sharon Dixon (24th), former Ald. Ed Smith (28th), and committee chair and Secretary of State Jesse White. The public meeting at Moretti’s Restaurant, 1645 W. Jackson Blvd., drew about 100 people and several elected officials.

Among those who applied for the post were former gubernatorial candidate Scott Lee Cohen, who was eliminated in the first round, and former mayoral candidate Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins,a finalist who was “a strong candidate,” said White.

White said the committee would regroup in the next few weeks to select a replacement for Collins’ current elected office. She favors her daughter, Angelique Collins, an education consultant, taking over the post.

“She knows the process and inner workings of Springfield and would make a great state Representative,” Collins said. “But I do understand the committee’s reservations about appointing a family member to my seat. (But) regardless who is chosen I will work with that person to make sure the West Side is represented in Springfield.”

Collins has been a state Representative since 2001 and will lose her seniority and chairmanship over the Public Utility Committee when she is sworn into the Senate Wednesday in Springfield.

She will have to run for re-election in the Democratic primary February 2012 and if successful the general election next November.

Priority number one for Collins is to work with Democrats to pass a balanced budget for fiscal year 2012, which begins July 1. She also plans to help bring more economic development to the West Side as well as more entrepreneur and ex-offender programs.

Smith said that Collins was his first choice.

But for Dixon, “She was not my first choice but I support her appointment because she is qualified and does bring a wealth of experience to the position.”

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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