The primary contest to replace retiring Republican state Rep. Mike Tryon is shaping up to be at least a four-way race.
McHenry County Board member Carolyn Schofield, R-Crystal Lake, announced her candidacy for the 66th House District before the Independence Day weekend. She was joined this week by Dan Wilbrandt, a McHenry County assistant state's attorney and West Dundee village trustee.
Newly-elected Lakewood Village Trustee Paul Serwatka is seriously mulling a run, as is East Dundee Village Trustee Allen Skillicorn, who also serves as vice-chairman of the Kane County Republican Party.
Tryon, R-Crystal Lake, announced last month that he would not seek a seventh term and will retire following the 2016 election.
Schofield, a married mother of three, said that the timing is right with Tryon's retirement to take the next step in her public service career. She served for 10 years on the Crystal Lake Planning and Zoning Committee, and then served a term on the Crystal Lake City Council before her 2012 election to the County Board.
"These are critical days for the state of Illinois, and we need lawmakers in Springfield who are willing to work with Gov. Rauner and majority party Democrats to find consensus on issues that will address the state's financial crisis, protect suburban taxpayers, improve the jobs climate, and root out the waste, fraud and abuse that has crippled Illinois," Schofield said.
Serwatka made headlines in the April election with his decisive upset victory to win a seat on the Lakewood Village Board as a write-in candidate, riding dissatisfaction with a proposal for a tax-increment-finance district anchored by a not-for-profit sportsplex on the village's outskirts.
The married father of four young children called Tryon's retirement an "incredible opportunity" he does not want to pass up, and said a number of people encouraged him to take it. However, he said he wants to gauge the support of his constituents before he makes it official.
Serwatka is a managing real-estate broker and former firefighter and paramedic who served 12 years before an on-duty injury ended his career.
"I have discussed this with my family at length, I have prayed incessantly, and I am feeling more and more that I am really meant to enter this arena. I really believe I am meant to fight this fight," Serwatka said.
Serwatka does not plan to step down from his new elected office if he wins. He said that the Illinois Attorney General's Office informed him that state law does not forbid a state representative from also serving as a village trustee. Serwatka pledged he will not accept a state pension if elected – he waived the salary that comes with serving as a village trustee.
Wilbrandt, who has served as a McHenry County prosecutor since 2012, said he has worked as a village trustee to establish stronger financial controls and fiscal transparency.
"There are issues facing McHenry and Kane counties. The 66th District needs a state representative that will represent the entire district. I look forward to my public service to both counties," WIlbrandt said.
The 66th District since 2012 post-census redistricting includes parts of southeastern McHenry and northern Kane counties, including parts of Crystal Lake, Lakewood, Lake in the Hills, Huntley and Algonquin. Tryon prior to the redistricting represented the 64th District, which covered most of southeastern McHenry County.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The online version of this story has been corrected to clarify that Serwatka has not made it official whether he is running.