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Government Local

Johnson could seek former county post

Outgoing state Sen. Christine Johnson, R-Shabbona, says it’s possible she could again seek her old position as DeKalb County treasurer.

“That is a possibility,” she said. “There have been a number of people who talked to me about that.”

On Dec. 21, County Board Chairman Jeff Metzger said Treasurer Mark Todd was resigning to pursue a job in Hawaii. His resignation will be effective Feb. 8, and Metzger has 60 days from then to appoint somebody. State statutes require the appointment to go to someone of the same political party. Both Todd and Johnson are Republicans.

Johnson was treasurer from 1994 until the time of her appointment to the Senate in February 2011. Metzger, a Sandwich Republican, said no formal discussions on who would replace Todd have taken place, but he expects to sit down with DeKalb County Republican Chairman Steve Kuhn soon.

Metzger, who served on the board during some of Johnson’s tenure as treasurer, said he was impressed with her previous service.

“She was a very good treasurer,” he said. “I have not gotten anything formal from anyone yet ... but I would like to move fairly quickly on this.”

Johnson said she is contemplating a number of post-legislature options, but she is planning on sticking around in DeKalb County.

“I have some irons in the fire right now, and my husband and I are evaluating the pros and cons of each of those,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s last day representing the 35th Senate district in the Illinois Senate is Tuesday. She said serving in the Senate was a rewarding experience. As a state legislator, Johnson said she was expected to cover and address a wide variety of topics.

“You can work on worker’s comp issues, caustic chemicals, licensing for barbers – you’re all over the board on different topics,” Johnson said. “That’s a particular challenge for any legislator to be on top of for the day.”

Johnson was appointed in 2011 to serve out the remaining term of state Sen. Brad Burzynski, who had held the seat since 1993. Burzynski stepped down in February of that year because he said he wanted to spend more time with his family.

Democratic lawmakers redrew the state’s legislative districts in 2011, pitting a number of Republican incumbents against each other, including Johnson and state Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford. Syverson defeated Johnson in the March primary.

Johnson pointed to her work with various education committees and councils as achievements. In particular, she noted her role on the Illinois P-20 Council, a group that examined ways to reform education in the state.

“We lose a lot of students who never make it to high school,” Johnson said. “We’re trying to have a coordinated effort throughout the schools to keep the student on track.”

She said she also used her background as county treasurer – her role for 17 years – to promote fiscal responsibility in the chamber.

Christine Johnson

• Northern Illinois University: bachelor of arts degree in journalism and public relations

• Elected five terms as the DeKalb County treasurer (1994-Feb. 2011)

• Past president, treasurer, secretary and legislative committee chair of the Illinois County Treasurers’ Association

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