Costello resigns to take IDNR job

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Former state Rep. Jerry Costello II (D-Smithton) resigned Tuesday after Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker appointed him to serve as Director of Law Enforcement for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. 

“It’s an honor to lead the dedicated group of men and women who keep Illinoisans safe while they enjoy our state’s natural resources,” Costello said in a press release. “I’m excited to start this new chapter, and I thank Gov. Pritzker for the opportunity to serve.”

Pritzker praised Costello for his career of public service, which he said makes him qualified for the job. 

“After serving his country in the battlefields of Iraq and the people of Southern Illinois in the statehouse, I’m thrilled Jerry Costello is continuing his public service by leading law enforcement at the Department of Natural Resources,” he said. “His wide-ranging experience brings much value to an important piece of state government.”

Illinois law mandates that Costello’s seat must be filled by appointment within 30 days. 

The new representative will serve out the remainder of Costello’s term. 

The replacement will be appointed by the committee chairs of the Democratic Party from St. Clair, Randolph, Monroe and Perry counties. 

The law dictates the new person must be of the same political party as the former representative. 

Costello has served as representative of the 116th district since July 2011 when he was appointed to replace Dan Reitz, who retired.

He was subsequently re-elected in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018, facing opposition in only the first and last of those years. 

Last year, he beat Republican David Friess with 53.5 percent of the vote. 

Costello currently chairs the agriculture and conservation committee in the House. 

Before being appointed to the House, the now 50-year-old Costello served in the Army in Iraq and as an Illinois police officer, rising to the rank of assistant chief of police. 

He graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His wife, Lori, works as principal of Waterloo High School.

Costello did not respond to multiple requests for comments on Tuesday.

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