Chesney Guest Column: Northwest Illinois’ Tony McCombie elected first-ever female legislative leader in Illinois House

The holidays are a time to reflect and express appreciation to the people who enrich our lives with the gift of their friendship and service to others in our community. This year, I am exceptionally proud of my friend and colleague State Representative Tony McCombie, who has been elected by her peers to serve as the new House Republican Leader when the new General Assembly takes office in January. This is history-making, as Tony will be become the first woman ever to lead a legislative caucus in the Illinois House of Representatives from either party.

Like me, Tony McCombie is a native of Carroll County. We both grew up in small towns no larger than a few thousand people, shaped by our Northwest Illinois values of hard work and making a difference in your community, whether it be in public or private life. Tony worked hard to earn her education at Western Illinois University and become a small business owner. She also got involved in civic life, elected first as an alderperson and then as Mayor of Savanna. As Mayor, she worked hard with others to balance the city budget and be a leader people could look up to. 

Recognizing the need to bring change beyond her community to Illinois as a whole, Tony stepped up to run for State Representative, defeating an incumbent Democrat backed by then-House Speaker Mike Madigan and his well-funded political machine. During her six years in Springfield, Tony McCombie has earned a reputation for putting politics aside to work with other legislators from both parties across the state to deliver results like increasing protections for DCFS caseworkers on the job.

As a colleague, I have been able to watch Tony McCombie firsthand as she makes a difference at the Capitol and here at home in Northwest Illinois, providing exceptional constituent service to her district and meeting with people to listen to their concerns, then taking action to find solutions.

Tony understands kitchen table issues that impact local families like the cost of living and working hard toward achieving a brighter future for your loved ones because she grew up with and continues to embody those values in her own life.

As Leader, Tony’s goal will be to elect more Republicans to the Illinois House of Representatives so that we can finally restore accountability and balance to state government. She will communicate how Illinois deserves much better than we’ve been getting from our leaders in both parties, and how we can reach new heights together. She will attract independents to our cause and bring Democrats who no longer recognize the radical policies that have come to define their party’s agenda into the fold so that we can redirect Illinois in a positive direction together.

Under the new legislative map, Tony McCombie will represent large portions of my former House district, including all of Jo Daviess and Carroll Counties along with portions of Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties. I hope you will give her the same chance to earn your trust and your confidence as you have given me. As our next State Senator, I will be working closely with Leader McCombie to serve the people of Northwest Illinois and deliver results on the issues important to you and your family.

State Representative Andrew Chesney advocates on behalf of the 89th District in Illinois. As a legislator, his policy priorities include cutting taxes, creating jobs, and government accountability and transparency.