Sudden death of state lawmaker leaves House Democrats short on override votes

SPRINGFIELD — An unexpected vacancy may leave House Democrats just short if more veto overrides are attempted.

The death of State Rep. Esther Golar (D-Chicago) leaves the Democrats one vote shy of the 71 needed to override the governor’s vetoes.

State Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) believes Golar herself would want someone appointed quickly, pointing to the fact Golar left a hospital against doctor’s orders to vote on overrides earlier this month.

“We need that extra vote, and I think Esther would definitely, just knowing how she conducted herself, and how she came when she was clearly very ill…that sends a message that we must appoint someone to that spot immediately,” Ford said.

Despite Golar’s presence, Democrats weren’t united in their vote on measures such as the labor arbitration bill. With one Democrat absent, another voting present, and another voting no, the override attempt failed.

According to the Illinois Constitution, the vacancy must be filled within 30 days. The Democratic leaders in Golar’s district will vote on a replacement to serve out her remaining term.

Ford says it’s important to find a replacement who is “committed to the cause now,” even if that person isn’t going to run for a full two-year term in 2016.