By Monique Garcia
A northwest suburban Democratic state senator who was up for re-election next year announced his resignation to take a job as the head of a child advocacy organization.
Sen. Dan Kotowski of Park Ridge said Tuesday that he will be leaving office Oct. 5 to become president and CEO of Chicago-based ChildServ, which provides foster care and runs group homes in Lisle, Naperville and Downers Grove.
Kotowski joined the Senate in 2007 and helps oversee budget matters and spending. In recent months, he's been a frequent critic of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's efforts to cut child care and other social service programs.
Kotowski downplayed any frustrations with the current budget stalemate as a catalyst for leaving the Senate, saying he wanted to return to the nonprofit sector he worked in before being elected and spend more time with his family. ChildServ receives a combination of state, federal and corporate funding, Kotowski said.
"I have a great opportunity to help people in a very direct, meaningful way, and have more time to take care of my family. It's the best of both worlds," Kotowski said.
Kotowski initially planned to run for re-election in 2016. It will be up to Democratic leaders to appoint his replacement until the election, and Kotowski has not announced who he is backing.
Rauner has indicated he is willing to tap into his own wealth and that of his well-heeled friends and allies to try to cut Democratic power in the General Assembly. As a lawmaker serving in a suburban swing district, Kotowski could have been a Republican target next year and faced an expensive re-election campaign. With the locally well-known Kotowski not on the ballot, holding the seat becomes a bigger challenge for Senate Democrats.
Amid the uncertainty at the Capitol, several other suburban lawmakers also have announced they will not run again, including Republican state Sen. Dan Duffy of Lake Barrington and fellow Republican state Reps. Mike Tryon of Crystal Lake and Ed Sullivan of Mundelein.
(c)2015 the Chicago Tribune