Preckwinkle-Backed Activist Appointed to Raoul's Senate Seat

Robert Peters, 33, had previously worked for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who had a weighted vote in the appointment

A political consultant and activist backed by Toni Preckwinkle has been appointed to fill the Illinois Senate seat vacated by Attorney General-elect Kwame Raoul.

Robert Peters was selected and sworn into office Sunday afternoon, Peters said in a statement. The selection took place at a meeting of the 13th District Democratic Legislative Committee, held at Preckwinkle's 4th Ward office in the city's Hyde Park neighborhood.

Peters, 33, is the political director of Reclaim Chicago, an organization dedicated to backing progressive candidates that endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for president prior to the 2016 election.

Peters was one of four candidates who had tossed their hats in the ring, in addition to former Raoul aide Adrienne Irmer, Flynn Rush, who is the son of U.S. Rep Bobby Rush, and investment banker Kenneth Sawyer.

Chicago Board of Election records indicate Peters was paid as a consultant on Preckwinkle's 2011 and 2015 campaigns for Cook County Board President - a position she currently holds as she runs for Chicago mayor.

As 4th Ward Democratic committeeman, Preckwinkle - who also chairs the Cook County Democratic Party - had a weighted vote in the appointment to the seat.

According to WCIA, Chicago Board of Election records appear to show Peters changed his residency twice in the last two years, with a condominium in the city's Pilsen neighborhood - outside the 13th Senate District - listed as his address through May 2017.

Illinois Election Code requires that anyone elected or appointed to the legislature reside within their district for at least two years before taking office, according to WCIA

But that did not deter Peters from taking the seat once held by former President Barack Obama. 

Peters said in a statement that he was born deaf and with a speech impediment to a biological mother who was addicted to drugs and alcohol, crediting his adoptive mother and father for his decision to turn to political organizing.

He said he plans to focus on criminal justice reform, clean energy jobs and quality public education. He will serve the remainder of the term, and will be up for re-election in 2020.

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