Sitting over coffee with husband Alfred about 10 days ago, Rep. Renee Kosel (R-Mokena) said she decided, "It's just plain time" to step down from her seat in the House.
After spending 16 years representing the 37 District and serving constituents in the communities of Orland Park, Tinley Park, New Lenox, Mokena, Frankfort, Joliet, Lockport and Homer Glen, she decided that she wanted to do other things in her life.
Last month when Bill Daley dropped out of the race for governor, he asked himself if this is how he wanted to spend his time. Kosel said: "That really rang true with me. I thought is this how I want to spend the next several years of my life?'" Kosel and husband Alfred have three adult children and seven grandchildren, all of which live in the area. "We want to spend time with our family."
The thought of retiring from the House really came about in a matter of a couple weeks, said Kosel, the Assistant Republican Leader. Already, she had picked up a packet to begin collecting signatures for the next election. But the thought of stepping down appealed to her. So she announced it with still 15 months to go.
With Kosel gone in January 2015, the Republican leadership in the House will have a new look. Her decision comes on the heels of an announcement by House Republican Leader Tom Cross, (R-Oswego), who stepped down last month to run for state treasurer. The new Republican Leader, Jim Durkin of Western Springs, was elected as Leader for the GOP in the House in August. He was "surprised" by Kosel's announcement, she said. She told him last week of her intention to retire from the House.
The early announcement ensures that the process will move forward smoothly. Without identifying any particular person, Kosel said, "There are a lot of qualified people" from which to select a candidate.
While Kosel is proud of the many capital improvement projects completed during her tenure, she points to the benefits to the community from the Illinois 355 extension project, Route 30 improvements along with widening projects on Interstate 80 and LaGrange Road. She joked that the people from the Illinois Department of Transportation would spot her in a crowd and immediately think "Route 30."
"I worked hard to get that through."
She also pointed out that she was proud of her efforts and sponsorship of bills that made schools safer.
Bills Still in the Works:
- Setting term limits for House leadership
- Requiring proof of academic success in regard to Monetary Awards Grants
- FOIA-accessible termination contracts
The FOIA proposal stems from the recent Metra Board debacle, where it was alleged that Alex Clifford, former Metra CEO, resigned with a severance package amounting to more than $700,000. Due to a non-disclosure clause in the termination contract, full details of the package and allegations of wrongdoing wouldn't come out for weeks.