Hauter named to finish Sommer’s term in the 88th district
Republican party leaders are allowing Morton physician Bill Hauter to begin his legislative career a week earlier than initially planned.
GOP chairs in McLean and Tazewell counties chose state representative-elect Hauter to serve the final week of Illinois Rep. Keith Sommer's term in the 88th House district. That includes the legislature's lame duck session that starts Jan. 4.
Tazewell County GOP chair Jim Rule said the party wanted to ensure the seat was filled for the discussion of a proposed assault-style weapons ban.
“It is critical we have someone seated in the 88th district for the for the lame duck session,” Rule said.
Sommer did not seek re-election after serving 24 years in the Illinois House. He has announced plans to resign Dec. 31.
Rule said “it just made sense” to appoint Hauter to the seat so he can “get an early start.” The appointment enables Hauter to move up in seniority and position himself for committee assignments sooner.
The Illinois House district Hauter won, the 87th, includes much of the same territory as Sommer's old district. The 87th includes a large span of mostly rural areas between Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, Springfield and Decatur.
Republican leaders still have two other vacancies to fill — to replace state Rep. Tim Butler of Springfield and state Sen. Jason Barickman of Bloomington. Both legislators resigned after they won re-election in November.