GOP appoints Kendall deputy to General Assembly
By Steve Lord email@example.com August 20, 2013 12:26PM
Deborah and John Anthony, founders of The Yarn Foundation. | Photo courtesy~YARN
Updated: September 22, 2013 6:24AM
John Anthony, a Kendall County Sheriff’s deputy and developer of a youth service organization based in Boulder Hill, will be the new state representative in the 75th District.
When sworn-in next Monday, he will become the first African-American GOP member of the state legislature since 1983. He is also part Puerto Rican.
Republican leaders from the four counties in the 75th District — Kendall, Grundy, Will and LaSalle — made the appointment Monday night after meeting for more than three hours, and announced it Tuesday morning. They chose Anthony from nine candidates.
“The decision was a challenging one for the committee because of the depth of talent of all the applicants,” said Michael Mattingly, chairman of the Grundy County Republican organization. “While we are all going to miss Pam Roth a great deal, we have no doubt that John Anthony will continue her efforts in Springfield and represent the constituents of the 75th District with integrity and zeal.”
Anthony has been a Kendall County Sheriff’s deputy since 2008, and previously was a Champaign police officer.
He and his wife Deborah are the founders of the YARN Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Montgomery. YARN runs a community center for youth called The Cave, and also runs after-school programs for kids.
Anthony lives in a section of Joliet that is in Na-Au-Say Township in Kendall County, and actually has a Plainfield mailing address. He grew up in the Cabrini Green public housing complex in Chicago.
At one time, Anthony has said he and his wife intended to start their organization in Chicago, where Anthony grew up. But he has said on several occasions that he was inspired to work with youths in Kendall County after he started noticing that as a police officer he was arresting the same kids over and over.
Scott Gryder, Kendall County GOP chairman, said it was Anthony’s work with YARN “that really set him apart.”
“He gave the best presentation (Monday night) and had good ideas, not just for the district but on how to get a good campaign off the ground,” Gryder said.
Roth is resigning as 75th House District representative to move to Texas, where her husband is taking a new job. Roth, who was present Monday night during candidate presentations, lauded the appointment, and said she got to know John Anthony after legislative districts were redrawn and Kendall County because part of the 75th District.
“I wanted to make sure that whoever was appointed would represent the district well, and I know that John Anthony is the right choice to fill this seat,” she said.
Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross, R-Plainfield, also praised the appointment.
“John Anthony represents what is best about America, the opportunity to succeed and the responsibility to help those less fortunate,” he said.
Anthony will serve at least for the next 1½ years before he will have to run for election. For at least the next 1½ years, Kendall County will have three representatives in the House — Cross, Anthony and Kay Hatcher, R-Yorkville.
Gryder smiled as he said it was ironic, because after the state district map was redrawn after the 2010 election, it split Kendall County into parts of four districts. At one time, Kendall was part of just one legislative district.
At the time, people feared Kendall might be so split it would have no one in the Legislature.
“It may still end up that way some day, but for the next 1½ years, we will have three state representatives from Kendall County,” Gryder said.